Ghana beats Nigeria, others, launches oil contracts register

While Nigeria has been trying to set up an open accessible register of oil contracts for years now, the Ghanaian government last week launched a public register of petroleum contracts, agreements, authorizations and permits in a bid to enhance transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sector.

The register is hosted via a web portal and presently contains 17 agreements signed between the government of Ghana and multinational oil companies.

According to the oil ministry, Ghanaians will, through the register, have full disclosure of oil agreements, permits approvals and contract, to help them demand accountability.

Last year, Ghana was ranked No. 1 within sub-Saharan Africa in terms of transparency in the oil and gas sector and governance reforms in the 2017 Resource Governance Index (RGI) by the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI).

But the RGI placed Nigeria 77th among 89 country licensing assessments, suggesting that the “Nigerian government does not regularly publicly disclose government officials’ financial interests in the extractive sector or the identities of beneficial owners of extractive companies.”

However, spokesman for the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji said that Nigeria, through the NEITI framework and the Open Government Partnership, (OGP) were working towards establishment of an open accessible register on contract disclosures.

NRGI Nigeria Manager Sarah Muyonga said that at the moment Nigeria does not have a public platform that discloses or contains all petroleum contracts signed by the government in the oil and gas sector.