The 2014 greater Accra Regional congress of the Ghana United Nations association has ended in Accra with a call on members to be actively involved in all its activities to unable the association achieves its aims and objectives.
In a welcome address to its members, Madam Cherie Hammond, Acting President, of the Greater Accra regional branch of the Ghana united nations association GUNA said the congress marks the beginning of great congresses that the GUNA has lined up in all the ten 10 geo-political region of the country.
She said in 2015, GUNA will position itself to make it presence felt through its major programmes and activities as enshrined in its working document which she hoped will change the lifestyle of its members.
We are proud to say that we are currently spread all over the country working assiduously to maintain the peace process of our country with GUNA as an offshoot of un and as a member of the world federation of the united nations association she added’’.
The theme for this year’s congress was ‘’promoting a veritable health delivery system in Ghana as a human rights conditionality for all and sundry – The role of the Ghana united nations association GUNA and other civil society peace network.
GUNA is a legally established civil society non-governmental organization in Ghana formed in support of the united nations organization.GUNAs education policy programme emphasize the importance of co-operation among nations and the need for Ghanaian leadership at un .GUNA is affiliated with the world federation of united nations association which began in 1946 as a public movement for the UN.
Incorporated in Ghana under the companies code 1963,act 179 limited by guarantee ,GUNA also serves as an NGO relief department of social welfare .the success of GUNA dates back to the 1960s with commissioning of major projects within the length and breath of the country.
Speaking at the opening ceremony as a guest speaker with the topic ‘’the upstream oil and gas industry in Ghana –A critical review and appropriate possible intervention, Mr Solomon Kwawukume of the Ghana institute of governance and security traced the history of oil blocks exploration in Africa with particular emphasis on Ghana .he said Africa’s natural resource wealth rights belongs to the the continents citizens ,but these citizens are being robbed of its benefits by revenue diversion ,corruption, jobless growth and rising inequality.
Mr Solomon Kwawukume criticised the west for their roles in Africa’s oil investments and called for due diligence in signing into law any dubious bills that may not inure to the benefits of Ghanaians. He said before the discovery of oil and gas in Ghana ,the nation had been blessed with a number of other extractive natural resources in the form of gold, diamond ,bauxite,mangeneses and others.
ln respect of gold for example, he said has been mined and left the shores of Ghana for over 500 years .However ,in terms of visible, concrete returns to the nations development as well as its socio-economic wellbeing many believe that not much has been achieved. The evidence is for all to see.
He said the God sent discovery of oil and gas has come at an opportune time when Ghana most needed an injection into and indeed a booster of the nation’s general welfare and socio-economic development. The announcement of the discovery in 2007 sent expectations of Ghanaians high through the roofs all over Ghana .
However, the general consensus of public opinion on the operations of the oil and gas industry in Ghana after 3 years had so far been negative, because the expectation of the whole nation which accompanied and greeted the announcement of the discovery has flattened to the grounds. Few have taken issues with the conditionalities under which the oil companies have been made to operate ,because the expected revenue inflows are not forthcoming as Ghanaians were made to believe.
He further said before production begun regional workshops were held in the 10 regional capitals soliciting views from Ghanaians as to how the US$5billon for the first 5 years would be spent. Three years down the line not even half of the amount has been realized, he added that US$1.78billion was earned while the the foreign oil companies whom we call our contractors made away with US$7.586billoin.the total investment of about US$3.50billion which Ghana also contributed to was realized in three years .By the end of the first quarter ending 31st March,2014,Ghana earned US$2.089billion while the contractors earned US$8.448billion.
According to him the current prevailing system the modern concession which the draft bill seeks to consolidate into law, under which oil companies are currently operating in Ghana is the cause of this and on careful analysis could not be in the best interest of the people of Ghana and that the framework for managing the upstream petroleum industry in Ghana before the discovery of oil was established and given legal backing by two main statues,PNDC Law 64 and the Petroleum Exploration and the Production Law 84 he added.
Mr kawukuma explained that the modern concession is a hybrid between the traditional concession and production sharing agreement .this hybrid system, referred to as modern concession was designed by the world bank in conjunction with the British and the Americans as an antidote to the production sharing agreement which was started from the East – Indonesia precisely in 1960.the British and the American oil giants operating in that country protested vehemently against the introduction of the production sharing agreement arguing ineffective that they took all the risk, the same argument being made in Ghana today.
Mr Kuma said the international practice and standard is, under joint ventures and production sharing agreement allocations are made from daily production to take care of daily operating and technical costs. Under this hybrid modern concession ,Ghana is being made is being made to contribute towards daily operating costs which we consider as a rip-off.
He advise Ghana not to be used as experimental guinea pig in Africa because our investigation revealed that newly emerging African countries into oil and gas have resisted the modern concession and signed onto production sharing agreement he gave the examples of Kenya ,Uganda,Togo,Liberia,Sierra Leone, and Tanzania who are also frontier nations yet to start producing resisted the modern concession and signed onto production sharing agreement. He said the production sharing agreement is a progressive and fairer and equitable fiscal arrangement in sharing oil revenue currently in the world over.
At the end of the congress a resolution was adopted following what GUNA described as a successful congress.
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