The government’s gold for oil program, according to Benjamin Boakye, Executive Director of the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), will surely fail to accomplish its goal and instead will give political figures influence over Ghana’s gold and oil value chain.
Mr. Boakye charged the government with not being open about the cost of the structure to demonstrate its competitiveness with the present private sector-led strategy in a statement released by the energy think group.
“The structure presented as gold for oil only seeks to hand control of the gold and oil value chain to politicians. No other value can be deduced. It is obvious that if cheap oil comes to Ghana, other unknown factors will be responsible and not gold.
“The government has still not been forthright about the cost of the structure to justify its competitiveness to the current private sector-led approach.”
The Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation (BOST), Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), and Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC), three government organizations that are participating in the policy, were also criticized by Benjamin Boakye. According to him, these organizations have a track record of underwhelming performance in the trading of oil and gold.
He continued by criticizing the government for keeping the people in the dark about the implementation of the strategy.
“Interventions of this magnitude should not leave people in doubt in the interest of good governance and assurance of the international community which has shown significant interest in Ghana’s gold for oil programme.”
In order to protect the taxpayers, he also cautioned the government to exercise prudence when engaging in improper transactions.
“The government also needs to be cautious and guided by the challenging context of state agencies in the oil and gold business because when these agencies make losses, it is the public that pays, and the energy sector is already inundated with debts because of similar trading abuses. There are no guarantees in the current structure that insulates the public from debt.”