Takoradi, Sept 10, GNA - The Vice President Dr Mahamadu Bawumia has stressed the need to establish a new paradigm shift on an integrated oil and gas industry to propel local manufacturing and job creation.
"We cannot and should not continue to be merely exporters of crude oil to other countries. I call on all players in the sector to work with the government to deepen the integration of the oil and petroleum sector with the non-oil sectors of the economy."
The Vice President said this in a speech read on his behalf at the launch of a programme to train 150 graduates from diverse technical fields under the government's Accelerated Oil and Gas Capacity (AOGC) programme.
AOGC programme which is championed by the Petroleum Commission is aimed at developing the required technical skills for the country's upstream oil and gas and other extractive industries and serve as a major boost for the country's draft on local content policy.
The beneficiaries; made up of 23 females and 127 males would be trained at the Takoradi Technical University (TTU) at an estimated cost of $1million.
AOGC was established in 2017 with the main aim to enhance the capacity of Ghanaians to access opportunities in the country's oil sector.
The trainees would be trained as process technicians, mechanical technicians, electrical technicians, instrumentation and other process engineering relevant to the extractive industry.
The six-month intensive hands-on training, would be among several strategies by the government to build the capacity of Ghanaians to play key roles and assume job roles in the industry.
The training would begin with a four-month academic work on the TTU campus and two-month internship programmes within the industry.
The Vice President was confident that the training programme would improve the human resource capacity of the country.
"I strongly believe that capable workforce is a critical driver of performance, quality and innovation. It puts pressure on industry players to develop and upgrade the quality of their human resources."
Dr Bawumia said the situation bolstered the productivity of the sector and promoted dynamic markets and economic growth and that it required coordinated efforts by all stakeholders to build and enhance the capacities of Ghanaian workers to deliver products or services at a level required by the upstream petroleum industry.
The Vice President said the CODVID-19 pandemic had proven the need for building the capacities of the indigenous workforce as movement of expatriate workers were restricted globally at the peak of the pandemic.
"The request on weekly basis for permissions for the entry of foreign workers into the country not only clearly evidenced how vulnerable the oil industry is to external support, but has also manifested the need for the Petroleum Commission to double track its efforts to indigenisation of core technical roles in the sector."
Dr Bawumia said Ghana was blessed with many natural resources, of which oil and gas were additions, and would always be part of the activities that defined the Ghanaian people.
"It is in this regard that the Government is providing the needed support to the Petroleum Commission to perform its mandate of regulating and managing the resource on behalf of the people of Ghana".
He reminded the beneficiaries to reciprocate the investment Ghanaians were making in them and called on the International Oil Companies (OIC), the Oil service providers and other companies operating in the sector to demonstrate their commitment to AOGC not only by sponsoring future training programmes, but also offer job role opportunities to the beneficiaries.
Mr Andrew Egyapa Mercer, Deputy Minister of Energy commended the Petroleum Commission and upstream regulators for their commitment towards AOGC and said the government would remain committed to the programmes and activities of AOGC.
He called on IOCs to demonstrate their commitment to the oil and gas industry by employing the teaming youth especially the trainees.
Mr Egbert Faibille Jnr, Chief Executive Officer of Petroleum Commission, said at the end of the training beneficiaries would have acquired internationally recognized City and Guilds Certificates and would be able to understudy expatriates in the upstream Industry in the country to take over from them after gaining the requisite experiences on the Floating, Production Storage and Offloading Unit (FPSOs)and other platforms.
He said a high number of expatriates in the upstream would drastically reduce under the draft localization policy that the Petroleum Commission had implemented.
The Vice Chancellor of TTU Reverend Professor John Eshun, expressed gratitude for the partnership and collaboration with Takoradi Technical University, as their vision was to be a world-class Technical University recognized for excellence, innovation and society relevance with its niche area in the oil and gas engineering.
He said currently there was the need for technicians in the welding and pipefitting for the oil and gas sector and that TTU had entered into an MoU with Petroleum Commission, Ghana to establish a world class Welding and Pipefitting Centre at TTU to train Ghanaians.
"You will recall that when Ghana discovered oil and gas in commercial quantities, the discourse was whether Ghana would be able to harness the discovery to the benefit of its citizenry.
It is for this reason that I laud this bold initiative by Government and Petroleum Commission for thinking about the youth of Ghana. This programme will fulfill the Government’s commitment to the local content agenda in the exploration of oil and gas".
He told the trainees that "I want you to count yourselves privileged for being among the few who have been selected to go through this training.
You cannot afford to blow this confidence that the people of Ghana have reposed in you. You are expected to become competent in oil and gas engineering after this training to be readily relevant in the world of work".
Some of the beneficiaries said the AOGC programme was a priceless opportunity that would propel them to the next stage.
Ms Emelia Nyumuteye a beneficiary said they would do everything possible to set the pace.
In another Development, a GH¢25,118.430.39 GETFund structure was commissioned for TTU.
The structure comprised, 40 Lecture Halls, four Science Laboratories and 80 offices to cater for the increasing student population and lecturers.