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17.02.2009 Politics

Government to restructure GNPC


Some sectors of the energy industry are to
be restructured to make them more efficient in meeting the energy needs

of the country, Vice-President John Mahama announced on Tuesday.

Among the institutions to be restructured is the Ghana National

Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), which was being repositioned to make it

more responsive in meeting government's programmes of becoming a wealthy

nation in the not too distant future.
Vice-President John Mahama, who announced this during a meeting with

a Norwegian Ministerial delegation at the Castle on Tuesday, however, did not elaborate on the details of the proposed restructuring exercise.

Nonetheless, it is understood that the shake-up would enable the GNPC become a key player in strategies being devised by the government to avoid

the incidence of some African countries remaining poor despite the presence of huge oil and gas reserves.

The GNPC was established in 1983, although it started operations in 1985 under PNDC Law 64 and tasked with undertaking the "exploration, development, production and disposal of petroleum".

Its mission, in part, was to promote, explore and develop hydrocarbon (or oil and gas) resources to enhance the economic development of Ghana.

Vice-President Mahama said the oil and gas reserves, recently found off the Western coast would be crucial in helping lift Ghana's economy to a middle-income status.

He said in doing so, the industry would be properly constituted in order not to fall into a trap that had befallen countries with natural resources, particularly in African countries, which remained saddled with economic and social upheavals despite those resources.

The phenomenon has been dubbed: the "resource curse", and it refers to the paradox that countries with abundant natural resources like minerals and fuels tend to have less economic growth and worse socio-economic development outcomes than countries with fewer natural resources.

The Vice-President gave the assurance that the discovery of oil in Ghana would be a "blessing" rather than a "curse" for the people.

"Ghana must avoid the situation of oil being a curse for the people", he explained, adding that, the involvement of Norway in fashioning a sustainable energy policy was due to the efficient way that country had managed her oil revenue leading to her considerable development.

Norway is often cited as the best example of a crude-exporting nation, which has remained stable and wealthy, a situation that contrasted sharply

with the situation in Nigeria and Angola, which experienced a series of socio-economic upheavals after the discovery of oil in both countries.

Vice-President Mahama said the government would honour all agreements the previous government entered with their Norwegian counterpart aimed at ensuring a transparent management of oil revenue in the country.

He also hinted of a further collaboration in the areas of environmental management to ensure stability in Ghana's ecosystem.

Mr. Erik Solheim, the Norwegian Minister for the Environment and International Development, touched on the productive working relationship between the two countries and emphasized the need for further collaborations in the areas of environmental management.

Mr. Solheim hailed Ghana for being a leader in the development of democratic culture on the African continent, citing her recent conduct of elections and the peaceful transfer of power as examples for other African countries.