The Vice-President, Mr John Dramani Mahama, has called on policy makers to take advantage of ICT to produce energy at a cheaper cost to feed industries and also reduce the cost of importing energy at high cost.
The development of the ICT infrastructure which is currently on-going, the vice-president noted, would facilitate information-sharing in real time that would help build confidence and openness in the oil and gas operations, including monitoring of volumes being produced and transported, he said.
Mr Mahama who made the call in Accra at the third Graphic Business Forum organised by the Graphic Communications Group Limited, said given the extensive gas deposits in Ghana, taking advantage of ICT would help boost industry and give it the capacity to employ more people.
The event which was on the theme “Leveraging ICT and Oil & Gas Resources to Accelerate Ghana’s Economic Development,” aims at exposing the business community to the various opportunities in the oil and gas sector.
It has brought together several high-profile participants, including seasoned economists, bankers, politicians and notable corporate leaders to deliberate on issues affecting business in Ghana.
He said it has been noted that the ICT dimension was frequently absent from private sector development strategies and that policy makers and small and micro enterprise owners in developing countries were not harnessing those new possibilities to the fullest.
“There is the need therefore, to establish close links between ICTs and Private Sector Development in order to make ICT a powerful tool for improving the competitiveness of the private sector,” he emphasised.
Touching on the oil and gas industry, Mr Mahama submitted that the government was encouraging the development of Offshore Broadband Network to extend optic fibre infrastructure to cover all the oil fields and areas under exploration.
That decision, he explained was because the availability of unlimited bandwidth capacity would facilitate the transmission of data as well as provide real time monitoring of production activities.
As a clear manifestation of the government’s commitment to the transparent and equitable management of the oil resources, Mr Mahama said Parliament passed into law the Petroleum Revenue Management Act 9Act 185) which made it possible to access resources through annual budget from oil and gas proceeds.
He added that the Act also made for the setting up of a Stabilisation and Heritage Fund to cushion Ghana against the vicissitudes of global financial trends and also meet the needs of future generations.
Mr Mahama lauded the GCGL for living up to expectation by creating a platform for the cross fertilisation of ideas on issues of national development and expressed optimism that recommendations that would be made to the government at the end of the forum, would serve useful inputs in policy formulation.
Earlier in his welcoming address the Managing Director of the GCGL. Mr Ken Ashigbey stated that the rationale for the forum was the fact that ICT and oil and gas were of strategic interest and importance to all stakeholders provided those resources were properly harnessed and prudently managed.
Likening knowledge to a baobab tree, he said, “We need all the brains in Ghana to help shape the discourse to ensure that Ghana is able to make that leap frog into the developed world status.”
Accordingly, Mr Ashigbey underlined that the Graphic Business newspaper, one of the GCGL's stable, was seeking to help direct conversation on the critical issues needed to shape the economy, underscoring that information and knowledge were critical tools to the developmental battle that faced Ghana.
Source: Sebastian Syme
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