Govt must institute policies to address governance gaps in the extractive sector - ACEP

Govt must institute policies to address governance gaps in the extractive sector - ACEP
Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Kuuku Abban | Joy Business
Date: 10-05-2016 Time: 03:05:56:pm

Civil Society Groups in the extractive industry are charging government to as a matter of immediacy put in place stringent policies to address governance gaps in the extractive sector. 

To this end, the group comprising the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Ghana Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, Natural Resource Governance Institute, are compiling a document to help government tackle the issues.

Speaking with JOY BUSINESS after a Civil Society Anti-Corruption dialogue on the Extractive Sector as world leaders also meet in the UK for the global anti-corruption summit, Executive Director of ACEP, Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam, said a radical approach is needed to ensure that the revenues derived from the country’s resources are prudently utilized to the benefit of the citizenry. 

The extractive sector, he noted is a high-value sector which involves a substantial amount of investments “but it is also the sector that is associated with so much secrecy, corruption and rent-seeking behavior.”

This he says is the reason why the group decided to have a parallel platform to discuss the scale of the challenge confronting the extractive sector thereby, proffer and highlight some of the progressive, practical and comprehensive solutions to addressing the challenges in this sector. 

The sector offers enormous opportunities for countries to generate so much revenue and to transform their economies and bring development benefit to their people.

But many countries that are extractive-resource based like Nigeria, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Congo etc. have not been able to transform these resources to the benefits their people are yearning for.

This has largely been attributed to poor governance. “If we want to see and achieve the promise of resource-based development, we must radically confront the governance gaps in our country including Ghana.

Some of the gaps, for instance, include the fact that, many countries in Africa have not signed on to the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative – EITI” Mr. Amin said. 

The EITI which requires government to publish the revenues accrued from the extractive sector has been adopted by Ghana but has yet to implement the laws that require government to, for instance, disclose the beneficial owners of the companies that it has signed oil or mining contracts with.

Lecturer at the Ghana School of Law and University of Ghana School of Law Abdala Ali Nakyea wants government to seriously commit to stopping illicit cash flows in and out of the country.

The Global Financial Integrity Report shows that Africa as a whole lost $6.6 trillion within a 10yr period. “If you take the ACEP Report in February 2015, Ghana lost $14.39 billion from the extractive sector only, within a 10yr period of 2002 to 2011. On average, we are losing over $1.44 billion every year.

If you want to know what that can do, just juxtapose that with the $1 billion Eurobond we went for over a 3yr period and the IMF bailout” he stressed.