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Akufo-Addo’s government genuinely has little understanding of the petroleum industry – Alex Mould

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Former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Alex Mould says the comments made by the Ministry of Energy (MoE) in their response to his earlier article on Aker clearly indicates their little or lack of knowledge in the management of the petroleum industry.

A press statement issued by Mr Mould on Saturday said “it is truly sad to think that the Energy Ministry and for that matter President Akufo-Addo’s government genuinely has so little understanding of this industry”

The MoE in a response to Mr Mould last Monday said the amendments to the Petroleum Agreements of Aker Energy and AGM were to provide regulatory certainty and incentives to support the realization of Aker’s Pecan Project and increase investment in the AGM block respectively.

“These incentives have already yielded positive results for the country as AGM recently announced crude oil discoveries following an accelerated drilling campaign,” the MoE statement said.

But the former GNPC Boss in another opinion piece released today said he noted that government does not achieve “regulatory certainty” by amending a single petroleum agreement.

“It does so by amending the regulations that have industry-wide application. This was pure favouritism. However, it will lead to a stampede of International Oil Companies looking for similar treatment (and perhaps that is what MoE wants).

“The rules were clear; the problem was simply that Aker sought special extra-legal treatment and MoE was willing to bend over backwards to please Aker. When it talks about “incentives to support the realisation of Aker’s Pecan Project” Government is either unforgivably naïve or disgracefully dishonest (or both)” he emphasized.

According to him, there was little chance that Aker would walk away from the DWT-OCP Block because the government refused to give it extraordinary exploration rights.

“If Aker did walk away it would simply lose its rights and would not be entitled to compensation. Any moderately seasoned negotiator would have called Aker’s bluff immediately.

Addressing government’s claim that the amendments were intended to achieve an ‘… increase [in] investment in the AGM Block’, he said that again was false.

“If the intention was to increase investment, then the SDWT Amendment agreement would capture Aker’s enhanced work and expenditure commitments. No such commitments are given in the Amendment Agreements.

“MoE is claiming (with no shame) that amendments to a Petroleum Agreement ratified on 22 December 2019 led to an oil discovery 6 months earlier in June 2019?! Even if MoE is referring to the Amendments it presented to Parliament in April last year the claim makes no sense. At the time that Aker started drilling in June, Parliament had not ratified any amendments.

“I should also point out that the 2 wells Aker drilled in June were not in any way “accelerated”. They were wells due in the Initial Exploration Period under the original PA. And since MoE is promising an accelerated drilling campaign it should tell the public when the next well is expected. Can MoE deny that Aker’s current programme does not include any new drilling before the third quarter of 2021? Is this the ‘acceleration’” he quizzed.

Touching on local content, Mr Mould, who is also a former Executive Director of Standard Chartered Bank said per the amendment, Aker can rewrite the Development Plan (Including the local content provisions) without reference to the Minister. “It can (for example) reallocate costs and contracts away from local to Norwegian subcontractors as long as this does not increase overall costs. How then can MoE’s power to approve Development Plans be said to protect local content?

“This surrender of policymaking power by a minister is truly extraordinary. I cannot imagine that Aker would enjoy such treatment in Norway. I cannot believe that Aker would dare to suggest to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (“MPE”) in Norway that it should be entitled to unilaterally override the terms of a ministerial approval. What then is the point of the Minister approving a development plan? How could any minister propose such self-emasculation to Parliament? How can we the people entrust the protection of our national commercial interests to a minister who is so subservient to private companies?)” he bemoaned

Source: Dickson Boadi, contributor

Business

Elubo to Get New Ultra-Modern Market – Mahama

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The Presidential Candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) John Dramani Mahama, has announced the next NDC administration will construct an ultra-modern market in the border town of Elubo in the Western Region to the size of the Kejetia market.

He has therefore, asked Ghanaians to vote for him and the NDC in the upcoming general elections.

He asked Ghanains to have an introspection into their lives and determine whether or not their standard of living under the current administration has improved.

He expressed optimism that Ghanaians will vote against the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) to give the NDC the chance to form the next government.

On Friday October 23, his Vice Presidential candidate, Professor Jane Naana Opoku- Agyemang also assured market women that the next government of the NDC will ensure that befitting spaces are provided to them to carry out their trade.

A decent market space will indicate that the women are being respected for the kind of profession they have chosen, she said.

“Market women need more decent market spaces to trade,” Prof Opoku-Agyemang said during the ‘Women in a Conversation with Naana’ event.

She added “We need markets that look like Kotokuraba market in Cape Coast and such interventions show respect for our women because the market place is the office of the market woman.”

– 3news.com

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Ghana’s Economy in Tatters – Mahama

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Ghana’s economy at the moment is going through crisis, former President John Dramani Mahama has said.

He said the economy has been badly managed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, a situation that, in his view, has resulted in untold hardships for Ghanaians.

The presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) said this on Monday, October 26 while speaking in an exclusive interview with TV3’s Komla Klutse.

“Times are hard for people,” he said.

He added: “All the people that we have spoken to are finding it very difficult to make ends meet.

“One thing that stands out is the appreciation to the NDC government for a lot of the infrastructure that they have in terms of electricity, in terms of drinking water, in terms of schools, in terms of CHIPS compound, health facilities and so many other things.

“They believe that the NDC should come and continue from where they left off.

“There is also the case of the abandoned projects – clinics, schools, roads, where we left off, most of those projects have been abandoned by the new government. Of course, they have their own priorities but the people are not happy about that they want a continuity.

“They also want a stronger economy. The economy at the moment is in serious crisis and it is creating a lot hardships for them.”

Source: 3news.com

 

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Ghana’s Cocoa Management Goes Digital

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Vice President Mahamadu Bawumia on Friday launched the Cocoa Management System (CMS) to create a comprehensive digital database for cocoa farmers for effective and efficient management of the cocoa industry.

The CMS is an online portal that will capture the demographics of cocoa farmers, farm sizes, input supplies, payment transactions and facilitate the roll out of the Cocoa Farmers’ Pension Scheme.

Vice President Bawumia, speaking at the launch in Accra, said the System would be a game-changer for the cocoa industry, enhance transparency and help bring total transformation in the sector.

He entreated the Management of COCOBOD to build in-house capacity to manage the System to ensure its sustainability.

He called for collaboration between all stakeholders in the cocoa industry for effective implementation of the programme.

Dr Bawumia urged the media to undertake sensitisation drive to educate cocoa farmers and all players in the cocoa value chain for successful implementation.

He lauded the Management of COCOBOD for implementing various innovative initiatives over the past three and half years, saying that, the CMS was in tandem with the Government’s digitisation agenda to formalise the economy.

He said digitisation was revolutionalising the global economy, therefore it was imperative to leverage on information technology to enhance productivity and promote accountability and transparency.

The Vice President outlined various interventions rolled out by the Akufo-Addo-led government to improve the income and livelihoods of cocoa farmers in the country.

They include; hand pollination, pruning, and irrigation of cocoa farmers, supply of subsidised fertilizers and farm inputs, as well as the introduction of living income differential and increase in cocoa prices recently.

Dr Bawumia also mentioned digital infrastructure initiatives rolled out to generally formalise the Ghanaian economy including the digital property addressing system, national identification system and mobile money interoperability payment system.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the said the Management of COCOBOD over the past three and half years were implementing initiatives to address the myriad of challenges be-devilling the cocoa industry.

He mentioned some of the initiatives as early spraying, hand pollination, supply of slashes, pruning and irrigation of some cocoa farms to ensure all-year round water.

He was of the conviction that, the CMS if fully implemented, would create a central database for cocoa farmers, create inter and intra connectivity generation of cocoa industry players and transform the industry for the better.

A Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, George Oduro, said the government had adopted mechanisation programmes to accelerate economic growth and make cocoa farming attractive to the Ghanaian youth.

He said government had supplied 100,000 motorized slashes to cocoa farmers, embarked on irrigation in some cocoa farmers and continued the fertilizer subsidisation programme to improve cocoa production.

The Deputy Minister was of the belief that the CMS would help eliminate fraud, theft and myriad of challenges facing the cocoa industry.

Alhaji Alhassan Bukari, President of Cocoa, Coffee and Cashew Farmers Association, on behalf of the association, thanked the Government for introducing major innovative initiatives to better the lots of cocoa farmers, which had also reduced the drudgery of farming and made it attractive for the Ghanaian youth.

 

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