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Petroleum Exploration Bill Opposition grows over bill to allow Minister to negotiate oil deals

The bill also grants the sector minister the power to override the outcome of competitive bidding in the award of contracts but with a caveat to publish such deals in the national dallies.

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The bill also grants the sector minister the power to override the outcome of competitive bidding in the award of contracts but a caveat to publish such deals in the national dallies. play

The bill also grants the sector minister the power to override the outcome of competitive bidding in the award of contracts but a caveat to publish such deals in the national dallies.

The Minority in Parliament has opposed a new petroleum bill that will allow the sector minister to negotiate and sign oil contracts.

The bill also grants the sector minister the power to override the outcome of competitive bidding in the award of contracts but with a caveat to publish such deals in the national dallies.

READ MORE: Master plan to streamline gas production

According to the minority, the provision to allow the minister such powers will defeat calls for transparency and fairness in the oil sector.

"We need to ensure there is transparency and accountability in the oil industry,"  Isaac Asiamah told Joy FM. "And that is what industry players have called for  -that we need to make sure that our laws are in tune with modern practices."

According to him, the clause granting the minister the power to override decisions is against transparency, urging that the bill should be "thrownout."

The deputy Executive Director of the African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Benjamin Boakye also opined that giving the minister the power to override the outcome of a competitive bidding is "huge discretion given to one man to take a decision in the industry."

He said there should be compelling reasons why the outcome of a competitive bidding for oil blocs or contracts would have to be cancelled.

Boakye said the the minister's reasons should be published for people to know.

He further called for the minister's discretion to be regulated because it could be "dangerous" for the industry.

READ MORE: Petroleum Exploration and Production bill re-laid before Parliament

But the Vice Chairman of the Energy and Mines Committee of parliament,  Adam Mutawakilu, has defended the bill, saying the bill ensures transparency.

He said the bill allows competitive bidding under clause 10 subsection 3.

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