The Africa Centre for Energy Policy, ACEP, says Ghana is yet to translate its transparency efforts into proper accountability in petroleum and other extractive resource revenue management.
Speaking to Citi News at an ACEP organized student rally on petroleum and extractive resource governance at the Takoradi Technical University, the Head of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning at ACEP, Mabel Acquaye, said Ghana has recorded a lot of gains with the passage of key transparency legislation for the extractive sector, but all that has not translated into real accountability to benefit the people.
“We have global and Regional protocols that have established best practices and standards to ensure that resource-producing countries manage their resources effectively through transparency and accountability. So that’s why we have Ghana’s Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, the African Mining Vision that Ghana has signed on, and even the Public Interest and Accountability Committee, PIAC. So we are doing well in terms of transparency and churning out comprehensive laws to guide us in the development of our natural resources. What is left is translating this transparency into accountability because more often than not, it is the accountability bit that will get duty bearers on their toes to be more effective in terms of proper management of the resources that have been vested in their hands”, she said.
The Head of Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning at the ACEP, however, partly blamed the lack of accountability on the lack of citizens’ interest in demanding accountability.
“So this is why we are here today embarking on this youth outreaches because we believe that the level of passiveness among the citizenry is too high. It’s like once it does not affect you directly, you don’t care. We don’t even bother to know what’s in the budget. We are not bothered to know what our oil or mineral revenues are being used for. Furthermore, we need a mass of youth seeking accountability”, she said.
Lawrencia Abban, a Civil Engineering student of the Takoradi Technical University, who participated in the ACEP students rally on the extractives while highlighting the exposure she gained from the outreach program, called for a fair opportunity for Ghanaians in the extractive sector.
“It has enlightened me to see the need to hold leaders accountable on how they use our petroleum and other extractive resource monies. And I would also suggest that anytime there are job opportunities in the extractive industry, it should not be selectively given out but must be fairly put out there for all capable persons to apply”, she said.
On how to boost local employment in the petroleum sector, the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the Takoradi Technical University, Prof. John Bentsil, speaking to Citi News on the sidelines of the ACEP organized students’ rally on petroleum and extractive resource revenues utilization, said TTU is not taking for granted its place as the only Technical University with the closest proximity to Ghana’s oil and gas industry.
“Takoradi Technical University is the only Technical University in Ghana which is mandated by law to train students in oil and gas because oil and gas is our niche program. So, we are also taking advantage of our proximity to the oil sector within the Western Region to use their facilities in our teaching and learning processes, all to better our products and to prepare them for the world of work”, he said.
The Dean of TTU’s Faculty of Engineering further explained how TTU is leveraging on this advantage it has over other universities.
“In order for our students to be able to take up job opportunities in the oil and gas sector, our curriculum is designed based on competencies required by industry. Secondly, our lecturers are all industry-driven players. Thus, most of our research works are based on the needs and requirements of the industry. We also have industry partners as our advisory committee members who help us in the learning and teaching processes, all to better the learning environment for our students to be ready for the job market”, he added.
Prof. Bentsil mentioned some relevant collaborations TTU has entered into, which are all aiding its overall program to train industry-ready products.
“We have also signed MoUs with some oil and gas, and energy companies which allow our students to take industrial attachment with them during the vacation period. We have also got what we call the Jubilee Technical Training Center, which is an industry replicated learning environment center, which all students going through the energy and its related programs on campus go through, and this provides them with the opportunity to acquire additional industrial certification in oil and gas”, he noted.
The ACEP organized extractive resource revenue management students’ rally on the TTU campus had participants from the Takoradi Technical University and Archbishop Porter Girls SHS.