Oil and Gas stakeholders advocate establishment of Western Corridor Development Authority

Stakeholders at Oil and Gas conference in Takoradi have advocated the need for government to fulfill its promise to set up the Western Corridor Development Authority.

This would serve as a special development vehicle for addressing development challenges associated with petroleum exploitation.

This was contained in a communiqué issued by the stakeholders at the end of a two-day Oil and Gas Convention organised by STAR-Ghana, a multi-donor funding organization.

The  communiqué called for the amendment of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act to eliminate ambiguities in its interpretation and identify challenges to its implementation.

The communiqué said the offshore exploitation of petroleum resources posed a threat to the fishing industry, coastal livelihood and the environment.

It called for the monitoring of the petroleum revenue to benefit the region and the country as a whole.

The communiqué called for the definition and disclosure of allocation of the petroleum revenue in the budget and the petroleum funds which should be disbursed according to the terms agreement.

This, according to the statement, would prevent the Finance Minister from using discretionary powers to expend revenues meant for the petroleum funds in the national budget.

On fisheries, the communiqué urged the Fisheries Commission to identify and designate critical fisheries habitat areas as Marine Protected Areas to safeguard aquatic creatures to protect the fishing industry for posterity.

It called on government to come out with guidelines for the conduct of Fisheries Impact Assessment (FIA) and ensure its enforcement.

It also asked government to review the Environmental Assessment Regulations (LI 1652) in order to make it mandatory for affected communities to have access to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIS) in an abridged form.

It asked government to develop regulations for adequate compensation for petroleum-related marine accidents such as destruction of fishing gears and vessels, farmlands and properties in the host communities.

The participants included representatives of Civil Society Organistions, traditional rulers, Members of Parliament, Community-Based Organisations, gender-based organisations, the private sector and the media.

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