Boakye Agyarko – Minister of Energy
BUSINESS GUIDE has gathered that officials of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) failed to inform the incoming government about the existence of a $5 million public-private partnership (PPP) project in Takoradi in their handing over notes to the new administration.
The project christened, ‘Enterprise Development Centre (EDC), was an initiative of the previous administration to ensure coordination between the oil and gas companies and the Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs).
The project was financed by Tullow Oil, one of the Jubilee Partners, to train SMEs in various services in the petroleum value chain, taking into consideration the level of complexity of the services.
The centre was fitted with expensive state-of-the-art equipment to train small-scale enterprises to get contracts in the oil industry.
It was part of the core component of the local content and local participation in Petroleum Activities Policy of the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum.
Tullow Oil operated the centre for four years and subsequently handed it over to the Energy Ministry under the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration but the ministry also asked GNPC to take over.
In an interview, a member of the Transition Team, Kwesi Biney, noted that GNPC’s failure to mention the existence of the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) project between Tullow Oil and GNPC raised suspicions.
According to the former DCE for Ahanta West in the region, he gathered that on Friday, January 27, 2017, two workers of GNPC went to the EDC building allegedly to move out some valuable equipment but personnel from the BNI and Police CID prevented them.
“We got wind of some Energy Ministry staff planning to move out equipment from EDC on Boxing Day, December 26, 2016 during the transition period, but they abandoned that mission because we informed Boakye Agyarko, the current Energy Minister, who did not know of the existence of such facility in Takoradi,” he told BUSINESS GUIDE.
Reacting to the assertion in an interview with journalists, officials of GNPC explained that the reason the EDC was not captured in the handing over notes of the ministry was because GNPC had been asked by the Ministry of Petroleum to take over the operations of EDC.
“There are ongoing discussions with individuals at the Ministry who are in charge of the EDC, and the transfer is not yet complete. This is why it was not captured in the handing over notes,” the officials were reported to have stated.
Touching on why GNPC sent people to the EDC to relocate the equipment, they stated that “a joint team from the partners- GNPC and Tullow- visited the office on Friday to relocate EDC assets to a GNPC-owned facility.”
“Following the directive from the Ministry of Petroleum to GNPC to take over EDC operations, the EDC approached GNPC to finance its rent. GNPC thought it was more efficient to move the EDC to a GNPC-owned property in Sekondi to minimize cost.”
However, the landlord of the building in which the centre is located, one John Donkor, has indicated that he had written several emails to GNPC and Tullow, informing them that he was willing to let the equipment be kept in the building for free until the current government settles down and decides what to do with the centre.
“So I can’t fathom why officials of the GNPC were in a hurry to relocate the equipment at the centre,” he declared.
“I am aware that they were moving equipment, including cars to the warehouse of a private company within the oil industry and not to any GNPC-owned building,” Mr Donkor alleged.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi