Business News of Thursday, 11 July 2019
The Managing Director of BOST, Mr. George Mensah Okley, has said there is a need for the petroleum hub project to be assigned to an entity that would be solely responsible for its operations, in order to ensure proper accountability and sustainability.
He was speaking as a panelist on the first day of this year’s edition of the Ghana Energy Summit, organised by the Business and Financial Times (B&FT) and Ministry of Energy in Accra. He was contributing to the topic ‘Ghana’s petroleum hub project – The dream, opportunities and how to get there’.
The gathering of industry players included Mr. George Mensah Okley, CEO-BOST; Mrs. Abigail Asonlange Harlley, CEO-AI Energy Group, Mr. Isaac Osei, Managing Director-TOR; and Mr. Kwame Jantuah, CEO-African Energy Consortium.
According him, the need for a hub is to allow the country to become the nerve-centre of the sub-region when it comes to petroleum. But this dream, he added, cannot be solely managed by the private sector due to lack of capacity to run a petroleum hub since it involves resources and hard work – hence, a Public Private Partnership is key.
“We need to leverage on our existing infrastructure, connect them together; then we look at demand so we can fully utilise the infrastructure we will put in place,” he said.
He further stated: “We need capital investment and that can happen when we are able to explore the diaspora bond by partnering with them for investment and exploit the local content”.
Adding to the submission, Madam Harlley added that government must consider tax breaks for the private sector to allow more private participation.
She added that the financial industry has a critical role to play. “Our financial sector should position itself to assist the private sector to serve as a source of funding,” she said.
There is a need for private-public partnerships, which according her will go a long way to actualise the dream of a petroleum hub in Ghana.
Mr. Osei also stated that we need to have a multi-modal approach to transporting products that are obtained from the petroleum industries. “If we do not have that, it becomes too expensive – not only for consumers, but also for the country,” he said.
According to him, we can transport these via roads, water and rail. He further stated that these factors must be considered before actualising the project.
Mr. Jantuah added: “In order for that, we need to build capacity and engage with countries in the sub-region with similar thoughts of a petroleum hub,” he said.
The African Energy Consortium CEO further added that government is currently conducting a feasibility exercise, drafting a policy framework, establishing a corporation for the hub among others. This, according to him, are the various blueprints that are currently being done; and he therefore called for collaboration between government and the private sector.
The hub upon completion is estimated to create about 750,000 jobs.
The two-day summit seeks to address opportunities in the energy sector and the role of local participation. The summit ended yesterday.