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28.02.2009 Politics

Government to review draft oil law -- Mills

Government to review draft oil law -- Mills

-Government is to review the draft oil law put in place by the previous Government and ensure that needed regulations and transparency measures are put in place.

President John Evans Atta Mills said Government would also put agreements entered into, and future ones into the public domain.

The President made the announcement at a New Year interaction, in the form of a cocktail dinner with the Diplomatic Community at the Castle, Osu Accra.

President Mills entreated Ghana's development partners and non-governmental agencies to support Government's effort for transparency and anti- corruption initiatives.

“I assure our development partners that accountability of public office holders will be a non-negotiable principle that will guide out administration.

“Your Excellencies, I am aware that in Africa and elsewhere, the onset of oil wealth, in the absence of adequate legal structures and safeguards, tends to erode democratic accountability.

“This government will take steps to address transparency and governance concerns relating to the nation's oil find,” President Mills said.

He also called for support from the Diplomatic Community in the Governments efforts to stamp out drug trafficking in Ghana.

The President reiterated the cherished friendship and co-operation with the various organizations and countries that were represented by the Diplomatic Community, and gave an assurance that Ghana would remain a partner to advance key global initiatives, help define the shape of multilateral institutions.

It would also continue to be an ally in confronting the tough challenges facing the international community.

President Mills said Ghana would be a good advocate on issues of global poverty, hunger, access to water, conflicts, international trade, international stability and climate change, as well as be a good advocate for greater co-operation on energy, environment and international security.

He expressed concern about cross-border crimes and said it was imperative to ensure a full and effective functioning of the criminal intelligence and investigation bureau of ECOWAS.

President Mills said his administration would endeavour to ratify outstanding ECOWAS Protocols, including the Convention on small arms and light weapons, general convention on the equivalent on degrees diplomas, certificates and other qualifications in ECOWAS member states.

That would also affect the protocol establishing the criminal intelligence and investigation bureau.

Ghana would also remain committed to conflict prevention, conflict management and mediation efforts in the sub-region, African and the world, the President said.

He called on the institutions of democracy in Africa in a way that they would be seen to represent the genuine aspirations of the people.

President Mills commended the Diplomatic Community for their interest in the last general elections and working behind the scenes to ensure that, “Ghana remained the bedrock of true democracy when it appeared political tension was rising.”

The President urged people placed in positions of trust in Africa to help the continent overcome negative perceptions about the continent, which he said called for the strengthening the resolve to protect the democratic gains made and respect the rule of law.

Government would remain committed to achieving macro economic stability, reiterating that despite the disturbing picture of Ghana's economy, there was no cause for despair.

“We know we can count on the understanding of our development partners as we evolve out rescue plan.”

Mr. Tete Jean-Pierre Gbikpi-Benissan, Head of the Diplomatic Community in Ghana, commended the President and his Vice Mr. John Dramani Mahama on their assumption of their high offices.

He commended Ghana for the success at its last elections and said the process established Ghana as country of true democracy worthy of emulation in the midst of other African countries affected by political conflicts.

Mr Gbikpi-Benissan said the political maturity sent clear signs to the Diplomatic Community that Ghana's democracy had come of age.

He expressed the determination of the countries represented by the Diplomatic Community for increased ties with Ghana, and advocated the continuation of business on a much larger scale.

The Dean praised Ghana's traditional authorities for being agents of unity and mobilizing the people for social and economic development.

He further expressed the confidence that the Mills administration would fight corruption and ensure proper management of Ghana's oil.