Sunday, November 01, 2015

Expert warns of improper oil, gas planning

Experts in mineral sector have observed that mineral-rich countries required good corporate governance structures to be able to properly convert their natural resource wealth into sustainable economic development.

The Media Capacity Development Officer of the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), George Lugalambi said recently that natural resources such as oil, gas and minerals, hold great potentials for development, which, when properly managed would help transform economies. 
"Transforming oil, gas and mineral wealth into sustainable development requires a complete chain of economic decisions and strong foundation of good governance," he said at the sixth regional media training on oil, gas and mining in Ghanaian capital, Accra.
He said economic decisions on the exploitation of natural resources could make a base for policy making in the future, apparently calling for thorough consideration prior to their implementation.
"You must understand the decision you take and how it relates to others in the long term. For instance, if you discover two oil wells, some decisions must go into you choosing one to exploit over the other," he said.
Lugalambi, who took participants through the domestic foundations for resource governance said, "good decision making by government rests on a foundation of rules, institutions, a critical informed mass and an authorizing environment."
He said the government should not only lay foundation for resource governance but also keep an authorizing environment that will ensure strict adherence to the rules and regulations governing the use of natural resources. 
The Executive Director of Penplusbytes, Kwami Ahiabenu, said good governance of oil, gas and mining resources and the revenues they generate requires effective oversight. 
 "An effective oversight, however, hinges on an informed, responsive and dynamic media to provide necessary and accurate information to the public about critical governance issues," he said. 
The 10-day course on the extractive sector was organized by the NRGI in partnership with Penplusbytes in Accra for 24 journalists from Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania.
The capacity building training programme, which was under the 'Strengthening Media Oversight of the Extractive Sectors,' was aimed at promoting effective and consistent media coverage on oil, gas and mining activities.
It was targeted at early to mid-career reporters and would help offer them a wide range of benefits, including providing them with holistic and comprehensive support through specialized knowledge and skills modules, professional mentoring, experimential learning, access to sources and vital information. 
"Here lies an opportunity for journalists to develop more insight and skills on the sector in Africa in ways that are self-sustaining," Ahiabenu said.
It also provided access to data and encouraged interaction with peers, experts, policy makers, and oversight actors.