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Who owns oil blocks in Africa? ACEP wants African governments to come clean

Politicians and businesses concerned to corridors of power are often accused of sharing oil blocks amongst themselves.

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In a new report, “The African Oil Governance Report,” the Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP) observes that Africa countries have shied away from disclosing beneficiaries of oil blocks in oil producing countries. play

In a new report, “The African Oil Governance Report,” the Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP) observes that Africa countries have shied away from disclosing beneficiaries of oil blocks in oil producing countries.

(Africanleadership)

Across Africa, the oil and gas sector is operated in an opaque structure, denying citizens information as to how oil resources are exploited and managed.

Worse still, in communities where oil is drilled, there is no community participation which often leads to vandalism of oil pipes.

Politicians and businesses connected to the corridors of power are often accused of sharing oil blocks amongst themselves.

In a new report, “The African Oil Governance Report,” the Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP) observes that African countries have shied away from disclosing beneficiaries of oil blocks in oil producing countries.

Benjamin Boakye, deputy executive director at ACEP says “when it comes to the core issues of who actually owns the contracts, who actually negotiates oil blocks on the continent, that is beneficiary ownership information, none of the countries have signed up, or started implementing those requirements.”

“When it comes to disclosure of contracts, letting people know what fiscal terms politicians have signed on behalf of the people, countries have not adopted.”

In cases where owners of oil blocks are known, the persons involved are often names of close associates of presidents or influential people in government.

“The problem though for you now if you look at all these (oil) blocks they have people connected with you or your party, and it looks like you divided up the oil among political cronies. And now that oil has been found, these blocks could deliver hundreds of millions of dollars to people connected with your party. Is it not understandable that the government that came in started having a look at this stuff?” The Financial Times asked former president Kufour, under who’s tenure Ghana struck oil.

The paper listed only Ghanaian beneficiaries of Ghana’s oil as: Kodjo Alata-an 80-year old long time associate of the President and a kingpin of the party he led, New Patriotic Party (NPP); Berwuah Edusei - friend of President Kufuor, NPP North American Chairman, former Ambassador to Switzerland and later to the U.S. under Kufuor; George Owusu - Friend of Kufuor; and Nick Amarteifio - personal friend of Kufuor and a board member of the Central bank, Bank of Ghana under his tenure.

But what worries ACEP most is the fact that communities are not central to the way oil revenues are managed.

“Communities have not been central to the way we manage our resources that is why you see for example in Nigeria, people are attacking pipe lines, communities always at war with oil companies because they have always been relegated to the background,” Boakye said.

He noted that communities must have a say in whether resources should be exploited or not.

“We want to see pre-plan and informed consent being institutionalized across the region so that communities have a say in whether the resources should be exploited or not.”

The African Oil Governance Report noted that beneficial and mandatory disclosure [of oil blocks] remains unsatisfactory.

The report recommended that countries who do not have competitive bidding in their petroleum laws should introduce them as a main process for awarding resources rights.

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