Currently, Ghana appears to be wading through another development process inscribed on the concept of Ghana beyond Aid (GBA). Like an infectious flu, different segments of the society have been caught sneezing the concept , spurring conversations over best options and approach to translate it into realisable and beneficial outcome. Embedded in the concept is private sector involvement.
Upbeat about the prospects GBA hold , other countries are signalling their support .In February 2018 , the government of Norway , inaugurated a private sector focused business fund towards the realisation of the process .The Norwegian response is not in isolation but in tandem with the trade and commerce flavour emphasised by the GBA. Sort
A Daily Graphic publication on Tuesday April 3 2018 informs that GBA is possible if Government can enhance domestic Revenue and go an extra step to Clamp down on Tax holidays for Multinationals in order to realise maximum benefit from its resources . This assertion brings into focus the beneficial value for redefining how we relate with our private entities- usually referred to as investors that Ghana, do business with.
Over the last three to four decades, generous tax concession and related flexibilities has characterised the mode of doing business with private sector multinationals, which practise has continually been condemned as counterproductive to revenue mobilization and tax income for resource host countries and governments. The inverse relationship between Poor revenue mobilization and economic imbalances that usually plague investor host countries like Ghana is not a new story. Essentially Contract is denominator in this relationship, bringing into relevance how our oil contract matters in the face of the spiralling investment in our hydrocarbon resources.
Oil in the wheel of History
Historical antecedents attest that , Oil has been an important traded commodity with strong exchange value since some 5000 years ago .Oil has been known and used since ancient times in different ways , used as a form of mineral oil with curative properties for human beings and animals in classical Rome , central Asia , pre-Hispanic America and Central Europe .Oil was used as Pitch in the Walls of Jericho and roads in Babylonia, tar in Egypt etc . Given its uses , history confirms the central role that contract played in its exploration , sales and distribution among early peoples and communities around the world .
Inscriptions on Cuneiforms in the early centuries demonstrate how Oil contract and Purchase agreement had been fashioned , showed records of approved prices that had been established. The Government Trade Commission under the reign of Hammurabi around 1817 BC provides an ample source of historical account.
Oil Contract vrs state Revenue
Undoubtedly ,Ghana Beyond Aid connotes self reliance in which way mobilizing our internal resources -material or otherwise for development financing is imperative ,a compelling reason we cannot afford to miss out on deriving the best benefit from our natural resources assets otherwise the best probable option may be to leave it unexploited .
Not too distance away, the outcomes of two distinct but interrelated expert reviews over oil contracts that Ghana entered into with Exxon Mobil brought into focus some disturbing revelations – circumvented the state’s laid down procedures and downplay on Ghana’s interest.
Losing grips over our oil contracting in the wake of GBA probably set the tone for the poor realisation of what GBA has on offer. Contract provides a strong basis for generating the much needed revenue for development. For this reason, deliberate efforts for strengthening collaboration between state and non state actors and political duty bearers stands a beneficial option to pursue . Going this way aligns with the principles of Inclusive Development philosophy and growth path that Ghana has chosen to abide by .
Undeniably state agencies and personalities have the capacity to negotiate contract on behalf of the people of Ghana .However is also true is that , a cadre of Citizen equally equipped with knowledge and skills in natural resources contracting remain outside the arena of state institutions , a raison d’être to harvest these resources to increase opportunities and success chances in our natural resources sector business conduct . Traversing this path is sure way to consolidate gains and build consensus for increased achievement – Who will set the pace?
By Noble Wadza, Oil Watch- Africa