Date: May 14, 2010, 9:14 am


The Publish What You Pay Ghana Coalition has found preposterous the idea that 12 Ghana cedis is the fine for  the offence for flaring a 1000 cubic ft of gas.  According to them, this is not deterrent enough to prevent oil drilling companies from flaring since they can afford this fine. 

The coalition expressed this sentiment during a roundtable meeting in Accra to review the 2009 Ghana Upstream Petroleum Authority Bill.

According to Dr. Charles Ayamdoo, from the CHRAJ, even though there are strengths in the new bill, some provisions require serious considerations.  These include the fact that the independence of the Ghana Upstream Petroleum Authority is weak.  There are also too many confidential provisions and stringent sanctions for breaches of confidentiality which cumulatively can act as a drawback on transparency and access to information.

Other weaknesses include the fact that procurement processes are not subject to the Public Procurement Act, Act 663 and there is a restriction of workers’ rights and imposition of compulsory arbitration. 

The Coalition thought that the current financing arrangement in the bill will not secure  the independence of the Authority and also raised among others the issue that there should be checks and balances to ensure equal pay for equal work.  It should not be the instance where an expatriate staff collects more than  his Ghanaian counterpart and goes away on a tax holiday. 

The coalition called for the removal of the confidentiality clauses which they claim is inconsistent with President Atta Mill’s order that contracts must be made public.  According to them, public procurement in the area of oil and gas by the Authority has  to be undertaken in consultation with the Ministry of Energy. 

The findings of the review, the coalition said, will be sent to Parliament  to enable them fine-tune the bill before it is passed into law.


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