International aid agency Oxfam America and Ghana-based development organisation Integrated Social Development Centre (ISDOEC) have commended Ghana's President John Evans Atta Mills for committing to increased transparency and public participation in the oil sector.
In a public announcement on February 28, this year, President Mills called for public disclosure of all present and future oil contracts, a review of the legal framework of the oil sector, and wider public participation in decision-making around oil projects.
The President, who took office in January, pledged to review the draft oil sector laws put in place by the previous government under President John Agyekum Kufuor to ensure that necessary regulations and transparency measures are in place.
'President Mills's announcement signifies a commitment from Ghana's new government to build a transparent and accountable framework in the face of an oil boom that can bring billions into the country, 'said Raymond C Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America.
This announcement follows a recent report from Oxfam America and ISODEC titled, 'Ghana's Big Test: Oil's Challenge to Democratic Development.'
The report identifies critical steps for the Ghanaian government, donors, oil companies, civil society and journalist to take in order to move quickly but deliberately in the face of the coming oil boom.
These include transparent revenue and payment practice open and competitive contract bidding, and active participation by civil society included in President Mills's commitment.