GHEITI, NRGI demand open contracts in extractives sector

Some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Ghana’s extractives industry have reminded the Ghanaian government of its commitment to the 2016 U.K. Anti-Corruption Summit and demanded that contracts in the mining, oil and gas sectors are “open by default.”

The Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GHEITI) and the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) jointly prepared a brief that explores issues surrounding contract disclosure and impressed on Ghana not to renege on its pledge to uphold transparency and accountability in those sectors.

“The government of Ghana should work with extractive industry companies and civil society groups to make contracting in the oil, gas and mining sectors “open by default,” as per its commitment at the 2016 U.K. Anti-Corruption Summit.

The two CSOs called on government to commit to disclosing the complete set of full-text contracts and related documents for each extractive project which are of interest to the public.
Contract disclosure is rapidly becoming standard practice in the extractive industries.

According to international experts in the extractives sector, at least 39 countries now disclose contracts.
Since 2013, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a global standard for the good governance of oil, gas and mineral resources has encouraged implementing countries to publish contacts.

According to GHEITI and NRGI, even though Ghana has made significant progress on transparency issues, “extractive industry contracts are still not disclosed in a systematic and ongoing way.”

The statement recalled that under the UK Anti-Corruption Summit, Ghana committed to “work toward making government public procurement ‘open by default’—beginning with Open Contracting Data Standards for high value contracts and contracts in the oil, gas and mining sector.”

The brief reminded the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) of commitments espoused in its manifesto and on the campaign trail in the run-up to the 2016 elections regarding the petroleum sector.

The party committed itself to “a transparent, accountable and efficient management of the country’s petroleum resources for the benefit of all Ghanaians.”

In the mining sector, the NPP committed to “increasing transparency in the allocation of mineral rights and the utilization of mineral revenues at national and community levels.”

The CSOs referred to a document outlining the achievements of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s first 100 days in office which disclosed that “a team of experts has been constituted to work with the Petroleum Commission to develop regulations for the transparent allocation of petroleum blocks as provided by Act 919.”

The deputy minister of energy in charge of petroleum, Mohammed Amin Adam at the 2017 Africa Open Data Conference had announced that by the end of 2017 a publicly available petroleum register will contain the full text of all petroleum agreements, licenses, permits and authorizations.

They urged government to stick to the commitments and build a disclosure regime that makes contracts and associated documents easy to find, search, browse and use.

Source: Isaac Aidoo || The Finder

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