We’ll enforce local content laws — Energy Minister
The government will strengthen regulations and enforcement of local content laws to encourage citizens’ participation in the extractive industry.
The Minister of Energy, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, said that was to ensure that citizens benefited more from the exploitation of the country’s natural resources.
The minister was speaking in Accra yesterday at the launch of the 2023 Local Content conference and exhibition slated for November this year in Takoradi.
The event will also be used to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the coming into force of the Petroleum (Local Content & Local Participation) Regulations, 2013; L.I. 2204 at the event.
It would be organised by the Petroleum Commission on the theme: “10 years of local content in Ghana’s upstream petroleum industry: Achievements, challenges and prospects.”
The petroleum sector was the first to have a local content law which benefits both the low and upstream sectors in the industry.
Dr Prempeh said under his administration, the upstream sector had seen an amendment to L.I. 2204 with the passage of the Petroleum (Local Content and Local Participation) (Amendment) Regulations, 2021; L.I. 2435.
“L.I. 2435 was passed on 17th January, 2022. L.I. 2435 is the first amendment to L.I. 2204 and occurred under my watch,” he said.
The minister added that the regulation had opened up collaborations between indigenous Ghanaian companies (IGCs) and foreign entities that desire to undertake various scopes of contracts in servicing the exploration and production (E&P) spectrum in the country.
“Whereas L.I. 2204 essentially provided for joint venture partnerships as the main mode of collaboration between IGCs and foreign companies to undertake petroleum activities — oilfield services in Ghana, L.I. 2435 has added strategic alliance and channel partnership,” he said.
However, Dr Prempeh said to ensure that the government’s vision of promoting Ghanaian participation in the industry was safeguarded, regulators in the industry must remain vigilant and patriotic.
“If you don’t show spine, you will be abused, so people who work in the regulatory space must be holier than holy and very patriotic,” he said.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Petroleum Commission, Egbert Faibille Jnr, said the conference was being organised in fulfilment of L.I 2204 which enjoined the commission in Regulation 40 to leave the comfort of its offices and take the local content agenda to town.
“The commission shall ensure that public education activities are undertaken to sensitise contractors, subcontractors, allied entities, the public and industry stakeholders about the local content philosophy and to ensure the implementation of the regulations,” Mr Faibille said.
He explained that although this year’s conference was the eighth since its inception, it had been heralded by a launch to show that the country had handled local content in the upstream petroleum sector by operation of the law.
The chief executive said the support the country had received from its international partners in the implementation of the local content regulations confirmed the government’s policy of providing a level playing field for all investors.
“The country’s local content regulations are a vehicle for partnering investors to develop local capacities for mutual benefits to investors and the citizenry,” Mr Faibille Jnr added.
The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu, urged players in the industry to leave the low hanging fruits for citizens to also benefit.
“When the people are trained by the oil companies, they can take advantage because it’s not proper that after years of discovering oil, there is still a skillset gap.
“If after 15 years you have not trained us, then it is your problem,” Mr Osei-Owusu said.