ACEP Calls for Transparency in Petroleum Licensing Agreement

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An energy policy think tank, African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has called for transparency in Petroleum licensing agreement.

According to the policy think tank, government should follow open contracting principles to ensure criteria’s set for Companies are made known to the public.

In a presentation at a stakeholder engagement on Petroleum Contracting Monitoring in Accra yesterday, Pauline Anaman, a Chief Policy Analyst at ACEP, said “When we want to enter into contract with a company we have to set the criteria’s for them and that criteria must be made public to everyone. Open contracting means carrying all Ghanaians along from the beginning to the end and not when the contract has been signed.”

She indicated that Petroleum Agreements should detail out the specific activities for each phase with timelines to ensure that contractors progress along a defined activity chart which will feed into the assessment for extensions

The call follows a 2017 report which shows that some companies failed to deliver on the petroleum agreement signed with the country.

According to the report, some of the companies had refuge in the preliminary ruling of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) which place injunction on field operations in the disputed area until the determination of the case between Ghana and Ivory Coast, whiles others failed to deliver on their obligations.

ACEP wants government to review existing Petroleum Agreements and their deliverables to ensure that those who are not complying with their minimum work obligations are sanctioned.

“This should be done in an open and transparent manner to provide assurance to prospective investors that sanctions are being applied to genuinely defaulting companies.”

Beneficiary Ownership Framework

Touching on beneficiary ownership, ACEP has called on government to develop a beneficiary ownership implementation framework.

The Companies Amendment ACT, 2016 (ACT 920), defines a beneficial owner as an individual who directly or indirectly ultimately owns or exercises substantial control over a person or a company.

According to ACEP, beneficial ownership information is needed to tackle issues of tax evasion, money laundering and the different forms of corruption that is usually made possible by the complex ownership structures of companies.

They are of the view that, the framework should outline the roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders relevant for beneficiary ownership implementation.

By: Emmanuel Yeboah Britwum

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