General News of Thursday, 5 March 2015
Former Deputy Minister of Energy Kobina Tahir Hammond has admitted that mistakes were made in 2007 not only in the award of contracts but also in heightening public expectation on the benefits of the natural resource.
“I plead absolutely guilty because I was part of the group which went out and told the whole country that there will be milk and all that on the streets.”
Mr Hammond, who is also Member of Parliament for Adansi Asokwa Constituency, however, stated that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government put in place appropriate measures to get oil revenues evenly dispersed.
He was contributing to discussions on TV3’s The Platform on Wednesday, March 4.
The current affairs programme was held in Accra on the theme: “Ghana’s Economy: Four Years after Oil Production”.
Speakers were Mohammed Amin Anta, the Executive Director of the African Center for Energy Policy (ACEP), Franklin Cudjoe, Founding President of think tank IMANI-Ghana, Dr Thomas Kojo Stephens, a lawyer and petroleum expert, and Ishmael Agyekumhene of KITE.
Contributing to the discussion, Mr Hammond said there may have been lapses in the management of the oil revenues under the NPP.
“I am not suggesting per any account that there haven’t been any mistakes,” he indicated. “…there have been mistakes along the line.”
He, however, asked that matters on the oil revenues be put into proper perspective, suggesting that the NPP cannot be faulted over the current management of the revenues, which speakers agreed have been handled clandestinely.
“Anybody that takes NPP on this, I will fight and fight and fight.”
Chief Executive Officer of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) Moses Asaga dismissed accusations that government has been negligent in award of oil rigs to companies whose local partners appear elusive.
“All petroleum agreements are brought to Parliament and sometimes they very detailed.”
The Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, as well as Deputy Finance Minister Mona Quartey failed to turn up for the programme, though the two were officially billed to be part of the speakers.
Ghana National Petroleum Corporation’s representative also failed to turn up.
Among dignitaries present were the National President of the National House of Chiefs, Naa Professor John Nabila, Former Trades and Industries Minister Alan Kyerematen, Executive Director of the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG) Dr Emmanuel Akwetey and NPP General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong.