Ghana to have beneficial ownership register by end of year – Minister
Mr Mohammed Amin Adam, a Deputy Minister of Energy, says Ghana will by the end of 2017, have an open register of contracts in the extractive sector as well as an online data repository.
Speaking on a panel at a session on Open Contracting in the Extractive industries at the 2nd Africa Open Data Conference, held in Accra from July 17 to 21, Mr Adam said the Government was serious about the commitments it made when President Akufo Addo attended the Anti-Corruption Summit.
Key among the commitments, which could impact the extractive sector, are the legislation for the disclosure of beneficial ownership information and ensuring contract and fiscal transparency.
He stated that while Ghana was not able to get clauses on disclosure of beneficial ownership into the Petroleum Exploration and Production Bill before it was passed in August 2016, the Government would include provisions for beneficial ownership disclosure in the regulations for the implementation of the Law.
He said the amendment to the Companies’ Code, however, had taken ‘serious note’ of the need for beneficial ownership to be legislated, although though the last draft required the establishment of a beneficial ownership register, did not allow the register to be made open to the public.
“I will like to assure you that I have been part of meetings chaired by the Vice President of the country, in which he is demanding a review of those amendments to allow for the register to be made public,” he stated.
Mr Adam also reiterated the Government’s commitment to open and competitive tendering and contracting as well as ensuring value for money.
He said a petroleum register will be established where all contracts will be published.
This, he said, would consolidate the publication of the contracts and ensure citizens had access to the full text and other data in the contract.
Dr Steve Manteaw, a Senior Researcher at ISODEC, said civil society organisations and the public still did not have full disclosure benefits and urged the Government to commit to opening up their work and information to the public.
“CSOs are doing the best they can but we need the Government to open up its processes,” he stated.
The second AODC opened in Accra on Monday on the theme: “Open Data for Sustainable Development in Africa” with more than 600 participants.
The five-day conference kicked off on Monday with sector-specific site visits, aimed at setting the tone for the week’s discussions.
The site visits were hosted by civic and tech hubs including, Penplusbytes, Mobile Web Ghana, Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology, iSpace, Impact Hub Accra and the Kofi Annan ICT Centre.
Hosted by the Ministry of Communications and the National Information Technology Agency (NITA), the conference sessions explored open data related topics in Extractives, Agriculture, media, governance, gender and education, among others.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo and Mrs Ursula Owusu Ekuful, Minister of Communications, gave the keynote address and official welcoming remarks respectively, on Thursday.
The Agriculture Ministry addressed the issues related to implementing open data policies in the sector.