THE Technical Advisor on Macroeconomics, Petroleum and Energy Economics at the Ministry of Planning, Dr Ishmael Ackah, has been named the rising star in the energy sector at the maiden edition of the Ghana Energy Awards.
He beat three other nominees to win the award for the individual category, which is given to a young and upcoming person in the energy sector who has proven that he or she is able to achieve success and recognition through his or her work and contribution.
In an interview with the GRAPHIC BUSINESS, Dr Ackah said he was inspired by the recognition and that would spur him to do more going forward.
“It is an honour. There are many great young guys and ladies doing well in the energy sector. It is also a source of encouragement which will inspire me to do more,” he said.
The Ghana Energy Awards is organised by the Energy Media Group and seeks to recognise the achievements and the successes of corporate entities and individuals within the energy sector.
Perspectives on energy sector
Dr Ackah, who has over the years shared his perspectives on issues in the energy sector, said there was the need to develop a national policy for oil revenue investment in the country to ensure that the resource benefitted a lot of people.
“There should be an investment guideline for the annual budget funding amount (ABFA) and strong monitoring system to make sure Ghanaians benefit from the oil resources. This policy should dictate projects within the priority areas that should benefit from oil revenues and the minimum amount that should be allocated. The policy should promote ‘within prioritisation’ to reduce the thinly spread of oil revenues and reduce time and cost overruns,” he said.
He said the continual use of direct negotiations to award contract in the petroleum sector continueds to be a challenge, hence the need to speed up efforts to introduce an open and competitive bidding process.
“We need to quicken our steps to develop regulations for the implementation of competitive bidding process,” he said.
On power, he said the sector had witnessed relative stability in the last few months and issuance of the energy bonds and the cash waterfall mechanisms would help address the financial challenges in the sector.
Dr Ackah holds a PhD in Energy Economics and Policy from the University of Portsmouth, UK, and MSc. in Energy Economics and Policy from the University of Surrey, Guildford, UK. He has more than 20 peer refereed publications in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, OPEC Energy Review, International Journal of Energy Sector Management and Insight on Africa, OGEL, and is ranked by REPEC/IDEAS in the top 10 Ghanaian economists among more than 70 registered top economists based on publications, citations, abstract views and downloads (https://ideas.repec.org/top/top.ghana.html).
He has consulted for the Natural Resource Governance Institute to develop the Natural Resource Governance Index (petroleum) 2016, World Education Inc. (clean cookstove uptake in Ghana), Ghana Oil and Gas for Inclusive Growth (GOGIG) and Africa Matters Limited (natural gas investment potential in Ghana). Ishmael Ackah’s research interest include sustainable energy development, renewable energy economics, political economy of petroleum resources management, natural resource governance, electricity sector governance and economic planning.
Dr Ackah currently coordinates the petroleum revenue information system (PRSI) with Dr Joseph Asenso (Ministry of Finance) and serves as a member of the Inter-Agency Modelling and Analysis Team (IMAT). He has developed a baseline petroleum governance index that measures the state of oil and gas governance prior to the operations of the Ghana Oil and Gas for Inclusive Growth. Prior to this, he served the Head of Policy Unit and a Policy Advisor at the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) for more than two years. He is an Adjunct Lecturer at the Institute of Oil and Gas Studies, University of Cape Coast, and the Department of Economics, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. GB