Media Tasked To Ensure Accountability
A group photograph of parliamentary reporters with some of the resource persons
The Executive Director of Africa Centre for Energy Policy, Dr Mohammed Amin Adam has called on journalists to hold the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government accountable in the disbursement and utilization of the nation’s oil revenue.
He stressed the need for the NDC government to use the oil resources prudently to benefit the country and that journalists and members of the fourth estate of realm could play that ‘watchdog’ role effectively for the general good of members of the society since they are a check on any government in power.
Dr Adam made the call at a two-day workshop for parliamentary reporters on the Ghana’s emerging oil industry organized by the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) in collaboration with the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) and the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ) at Elmina in the Central region.
Dr Adam explained that currently many transactions relating to the Jubilee Oilfield are done in secrecy and that does not augur well for accountability.
‘The sale of most of the oil blocks in the Jubilee Field was done in secrecy,’ he pointed out.
He also indicated that the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), which handles most of the transactions on behalf of government, had consistently failed to publish its yearly financial statements, which it is obliged to do.
He said for the country to derive full benefit of the oil deposit in Ghana, the country must make every effort to revitalise the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) to enable it refine the nation’s oil because much value would be added to it.
He said apart from the higher value of the product after being refined, the by-products from the refinery could also be used to manufacture fertilizer and other agricultural products, which would create jobs for many Ghanaians.
‘Journalists and civil society must ensure that the country derives the maximum benefit from its oil resources,’ he noted, adding that his outfit will continue to push the crusade to ensure that those managing the country’s oil resources on our behalf properly account for the proceeds.
The Dean of the Parliamentary Press Corp, Edwin Arthur, for his part, said journalists working in Parliament must always be abreast with knowledge in the oil industry so that they could properly interrogate oil contracts that come before Parliament and educate members of the public on such contracts.
From Thomas Fosu Jnr, Elmina
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