THE Executive Secretary of the Sekondi-Takoradi Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Vincent Annan, has called on the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to regularly interact with the business community in the Western Region and educate them on what it takes to do business in the oil and gas industry.
He has also urged the corporation to, as much as possible, remove all barriers to entry, especially to local and indigenous businesses.
Mr Annan made the call at a day’s introductory interaction with the media and the oil and gas industry, for journalists in the Western Region in Takoradi.
The Oilfield Training Centre Limited and the Global Energy Ventures Ghana Limited organised the event, during which topics such as “Introduction to the oil and gas industry”, “The role of the media in the oil and gas industry” and “The general public expectation from the media and the oil and gas industry”, were treated.
Mr Annan further called on the GNPC to set up a secretariat in the region to take care of the needs and concerns of the local business communities and ensure the availability of information in terms of business opportunities and job openings.
Touching on the media, he said they should gather, package and manage information in such a way that it would benefit all stakeholders.
Mr Annan called on the media to help manage the expectations of the general public from the industry, especially the youth by sensitising them to other alternative livelihood sources such as agro-business, the art and craft industry and the cultural tourism sector.
He urged the media to play an advocacy role to influence government policy on infrastructure, health, housing, among others, in the region by laying to bare the real situation.
Mr Annan urged the media to critically study the current oil and gas laws and come up with suggestions, if possible.
The executive secretary also called on the oil companies to live up to their corporate social responsibilities by supporting projects aimed at diverting the ever-mounting attention of the youth on the oil and gas industry.
The Manager of the Oilfield Training Centre, Mr Ato Van-Ess, explained that the vision of the centre was to train highly skilled workforce at all levels of the oil and gas industry.
“We have to be safety-conscious, and that the press should ensure that safety is maintained at all levels and ensure that standards are high and of world class,” he emphasised.
Mr Van-Ess said Ghanaians were being used to train Ghanaians to have a world-class workforce in the oil and gas industry, not only to work in the country, but also to be exported to work in other oil-producing countries.
“We see the media as very instrumental in the development of the oil and gas industry. Let us plan to move the Western Region forward,” he stated.
The Country Manager of Oilfield Training Centre Limited, Mr Gavin King, said Ghanaians had been more accommodating and humble, and that the company was helping to establish and develop an oil and gas industry which would be beneficial to the country.
The Western Regional Chairman of the Ghana Journalists Association, Mr George Naykene, said the media were preparing themselves for the emerging oil and gas industry, adding that the training programmes the media had undergone would enable them to perform better on their reportage on the oil and gas industry.
He said the media would constantly monitor the activities of the oil companies to ensure that they operated within the confines of the laws and also within standards.