Business News of Saturday, 14 March 2015
Ghana and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) have agreed to extend the “Oil for Development Programme” for another five years. This was made known at the fifth and last annual meeting relating to the Oil for Development Agreements for 2010 to 2014 held at the Ministry of Petroleum.
Under the new programme called “Strengthening Resource Management of Oil and Gas Sector in Ghana”, MFA will make available to Ghana a financial grant not exceeding NOK 31,000,000 to be used exclusively to finance the programme which spans from 2015 to 2019.
It is envisaged that the programme will contribute to poverty reduction through responsible management of petroleum resources.
Ghana and Norway have been collaborating within the “Oil for development programme” since 2008; a year after Ghana discovered oil in commercial quantities.
During these years a comprehensive support programme has been developed, mainly in the areas of resources and environmental management. The current agreement which extends the cooperation in both components, environment and resource , will also try to meet new challenges like a possible high turnover of staff from public to private sector, lack of coordination between actors and activities in the sector as well as weak stakeholder involvement.
Speaking at the meeting, the Minister for Petroleum Hon. Emmanuel Armah-kofi Buah underscored the significance of extending the Oil for development programme under the Ghana-Norway cooperation.
He indicated that the cooperation will benefit the following key areas of the sector; Resource management, environmental and Revenue management. He therefore entreated all beneficiary institutions to ensure that the new programme became a success.
On her part, the Deputy Minister for Environment, Science and Technology, Hon. Bernice Heloo acknowledged the significant achievement made over the past four years in project implementation as evidence in the Mid-term Review Report and that there is evidence to show that the intervention has been very beneficial to Ghana in terms of supporting and ensuring effective environmental governance in the oil and gas sector.
On his part, the Chargé d’affaire for Norwegian Embassy, H.E. Per Mogstad, indicated that the oil for development programme is one of the best functioning technical cooperation programmes Norway has, and the one with Ghana is seen as the most successful. He stated that the keys to this success have been flexibility, continuity, and trust, as well as twinning of similar institutions in terms of roles and in general a good base of Ghanaian capacity well placed in the drivers’ seat.
Present at the ceremony were: Minister for Petroleum Hon. Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, Deputy Minister for Environment, Science and Technology, Hon. Bernice Heloo, the Chargé d’affaire for Norwegian Embassy, Per Mogstad, the Chief Director for Ministry of Petroleum, Prof. Thomas Mba Akabzaa and other distinguished guests.