By Kiana Wilburg
As a result of utilizing experts like Trinidadian local content and energy strategist, Anthony Paul, the Government of Ghana is now reaping the rewards of a robust policy that ensured its citizens to have first preference in their oil industry.
Today, Ghanaians represent 86 percent of the oil and gas workforce.
This was disclosed in the government’s 2019 Reconciliation Report on Ghana’s Petroleum Holding Fund.
According to the 126-page report, the number of employees holding management positions in the oil industry was 721 out of which 602 are Ghanaians and 119 expatriates.
Total number of employees holding Technical Core Positions was 2,714 of which 75.9 percent (2,059) were Ghanaians and 24.1 percent (655) expatriates. Other relevant roles totaled 2,515 of which 97.9 percent (2,463) were Ghanaians and 2.1 percent (52) were expatriates.
The Government of Ghana was also pleased to report that the effective implementation of its Petroleum (Local Content and Local Participation) Regulations 2013 which was built on the strength of its Local Content Policy, produced commendable results.
In this regard, the government said it saw a significant increase of domestic companies that registered to participate in the upstream petroleum industry. As at the end December 2019, about 800 indigenous Ghanaian companies had registered with the Commission to supply goods and services to companies in the oil and gas industry.
The total value of contracts awarded to those indigenous companies amounted to approximately USD$72.70 million and for the joint ventures (JV) between foreign companies and locals, those amounted to approximately US$360.50 million in 2019.
Another success for the Government of Ghana relates to the establishment and activation of its Local Content Fund. The Fund which provides resources to support local content initiatives accrued US$2.77M from oil companies.
The foregoing achievements were due to the foundation that was set in Ghana’s Local Content Policy by Trinidadian Expert, Anthony Paul.
He ensured that the policy contained provisions which demanded that oil companies give priority to the purchase of local products even if they are 10 percent more expensive.
The policy also ensured that oil companies have an annual recruitment and training programme that would ensure : (a) at least 50 percent of the management staff are Ghanaians from the start of petroleum activities of the licensee with the percentage increasing to at least 80 percent within five years after the start of the petroleum activities; (b) at least 30 percent of the technical staff are Ghanaians from the start of petroleum activities of the licensee with the percentage ramping up to at least 80 percent within five years after the start of petroleum activities and 90 percent within 10 years; and (c) Other staff, are 100 percent are Ghanaians.
Expatriates would only be allowed in the other staff category if Ghanaians are not available with the necessary skills to fill the position. The Ghanaians would, however, be trained in the meantime to assume the post soon.
Back in 2016, Paul was hired by Guyana to produce the nation’s Local Content Policy. He had inserted, into his first two drafts, similar provisions, which would have paved the way for a similar trend of success for Guyana.
Instead of allowing Paul to complete the final document, the Coalition Government hired UK Consultant, Dr. Michael Warner, to complete the job.
Kaieteur News had reported that Dr. Warner is an employee of DAI, the contractor engaged with ExxonMobil to manage the oil giant’s Local Content Centre for Development located on South Road, Georgetown.
When Dr. Warner reviewed the draft, not only did he remove key provisions Paul inserted to protect the interest of Guyanese, but he also included clauses that would benefit ExxonMobil and its affiliates.
One of these clauses relates to a confidentiality provision, which prevents the public from scrutinizing the full local content reports of oil companies.
In doing so, Guyanese would not be able to properly assess the performance of these companies in using local goods and services, training Guyanese, and transferring the relevant technologies.
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