Aker Energy Ghana has announced a $4.5-million (about GH¢24 million) support to the government to help build the capacity of Ghanaians in the oil and gas sector of the economy.
The energy company officially unveiled its decision in Accra last Friday, making it the first upstream petroleum company to directly support efforts by the government to indigenise capacity building in the sector.
The money will support the government’s special initiative on the implementation of an accelerated oil and gas capacity-building programme (AOGC) to increase local participation in the sector.
The programme, launched in November 2018, aims at impacting a minimum of 10,000 people and businesses over the next five years.
The acting Chief Executive Officer of the Petroleum Commission (PC), Mr Egbert Faibille Jnr, explained that the AOGC initiative was a deliberate effort by the government to build the capacities of individuals and corporate institutions, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to enable them to provide the needed services for multinationals operating in Ghana’s upstream petroleum business.
He said a secretariat had been established at the commission to implement the programme, with various memoranda of understanding also signed with institutions such as the Glasgow Caledonia University in the United Kingdom to help in the implementation of the programme.
“A deliberate certification is being developed to ensure that not only will our people who are selected to benefit from this programme work only in Ghana; they may also become expatriates in other countries,” Mr Faibille Jr added.
He, however, noted that even though the amount “does not cover the full budget, it is a greater part of the budget and a lot more are streaming in and, at the appropriate time, we will make them known as well”.
The Second Lady, Mrs Samira Bawumia, commended Aker Energy for the benevolent gesture and urged other oil companies to emulate its example.
She explained that the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, initiated the AOGC as a deliberate effort to build local capacity and provide opportunities for young people to work in the oil and gas sector.
Mrs Bawumia expressed optimism that the programme would help achieve the desired results and called for judicious usage of the funds to ensure sustainability of the programme.
The Country Manager of Aker Energy, Mr Jan Helge Skogen, observed that Ghana could gain from the oil and gas sector only if it developed its human capital to be able to fully participate in the sector.
That, he said, informed the company’s decision to support the programme.
“Aker Energy's goal is that through our operations in Ghana, we will support the development of the oil and gas sector. Under the AOGC, we will seek collaborations with Ghanaian educational institutions to increase competency levels through a training of local trainers programme,” he added.
The Vice-Chancellor of the Regional Maritime University (RMU), Prof. Elvis Nyarko, applauded efforts by Aker Energy to enhance technical and vocational skills among Ghanaians, saying that “it is a huge platform for manpower development in the country”.