Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, Minister for Energy and Petroleum, yesterday inaugurated Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) in Takoradi.
In an address, he said the EDC is part of the core component of the local content and local participation in Petroleum Activities Policy of the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum.
Mr Buah said the policy had been translated into regulations in a Legislative Instrument (LI) which was receiving Executive and Parliamentary approval.
He said the LI sets clear targets for achieving local participation in various services in the petroleum value chain, taking carefully into consideration the level of complexity of these services.
Mr Buah said these laws and the targets alone could not guarantee the achievement of local content dreams unless carefully planned mechanisms were in place to help achieve them.
He said Ghanaian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) were capable of the competition and should, therefore, take full advantage of the EDC.
Mr Buah said it was projected that in the next five years about 20 billion dollars would be spent on the upstream sector of petroleum activities.
“Our goal is to ensure that Ghanaian SMEs will get a fair share of this investment, which indeed will translate into transformation of Ghanaian business, job creation and overall expansion of the economy.
“This is the only way that, the oil and gas discoveries can be a blessing to all,” he noted.
He said it was for this reason that, the Government took the decision to establish an EDC in the Western Region to act as a focal point for coordination between the oil and gas companies and SMEs.
The centre would encourage international companies to establish offices in the region in order to utilise local goods and services.
He said the centre’s activities would not remain an enclave for the oil and gas sector but would open up opportunities for other sectors such as mining, aviation, petrochemical and the wider economy with the attendant linkage effects.
Mr Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, said the EDC was consistent with the wider national strategy of strengthening the private sector and particularly local SMEs to grow on sustainable basis and to drive the viable development of the oil and gas industry.
He said the quantum of local content as well as the extent to which the local people could participate in the oil and gas sector was limited in respect to technology, management, finance, human resources and occupational health and safety standards.
He said it was, therefore, the responsibility of the centre to adequately and holistically empower the SMEs.
Mr Vanderpuye urged the centre to bring on board innovative training programmes to make it a place of excellence.
Mr Dai Jones, General Manager and President of Tullow Ghana who represented the Jubilee Partners, said the partners would be funding the project over the next five years at a cost of five million dollars.
He expressed the hope that, Ghanaian businessmen would take advantage of the centre to acquire excellent negotiation skills to enable them to be competitive in International business.
Mr Ebenezer Teye Addo, Regional Minister, advised the EDC to focus on its core mandate and offer courses and programmes that were relevant to the investment market at fees that were within reach of most of the up and coming firms.