Country Director of the Pyxera Global, Mrs. Barbara Gbologah, has pointed out that skill gap has been an obstacle across board in most countries trying to serve the oil and gas industry.
“We see the huge gap created by a miss-match between industry and academia but also an industry that is galloping in far ahead of the SMEs suppliers who need to serve them” she said.
According to her, it is no surprise that PYXERA is in Ghana, where about 80% of its businesses are SMEs -we observe similar challenges with issues of governance, access to funding, lack of technical skills among others.
“Our presence has been timely because we were ahead of the development of the nascent oil and gas industry but the coming into force of LI2204 in 2013 provided good context for our work – because the law enjoins contractors and companies in the sector to utilize local expertise, goods, services, businesses and financing in the petroleum industry value chain and to develop local capacities” she said.
Mrs. Gbologah was speaking at an engagement with SMEs and other partners in the oil and gas industry on the “Story So far”, an initiative by the PYXERA Global to tell its achievement since its inception in Ghana.
The Ghana Supply Chain Development Programme is an initiative of Pyxera Global, funded by the United State Agency for International Development (USAID) to improve the competitiveness of local SME’s operating in the oil and gas, energy as well as mining sectors of Ghana.
She emphasized that Ghana Supply Chain Development Programme will continue to support local Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) to actively participate in the oil and gas sector.
“Our purpose is to ensure that the local business community is able to actively participate in and benefit from new resource discovery, ultimately building a successful business at the same time as a sustainable community” she said.
She explained that working with SMEs and supporting them to grow within their various supply chains is a passion dating back to the very first supply chain program in Azerbaijan, from which new foot prints can be traced to working in Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique and Ghana.
She stated that Pyxera Global has more than 20 years of experience in enhancing the capabilities of local companies to successfully become suppliers to multinational corporations.
“Over the years we have come to appreciate the value of partnerships and we have come to adopt a participatory approach to our engagement with local communities and businesses whether it is working on our value chain programmes or our Probono programmes where we have successfully harnessed the combined knowledge and resources as well as create pathways that allow our partners come together to address pertinent industry and community issues- in the oil and gas, agriculture, health, tourism among others” she added.
Three years on, she said Ghana Supply Chain has demonstrated its impact, in the number and value of contracts won, the number of SMEs and Business Service Provider (BSP) trained and certified – this confirms the earlier position that given the necessary tools and skills local SMEs can compete.
The programme she said ends in 2018 and that there is the need to make this program self- sustaining -we have incorporated sustainability measures by empowering a cream of Business Service Providers that can continue to provide the services we have been providing.
“So far, 76 contracts have been awarded, trained over 400 individuals and touched over 230 SME’s –we have been able to empower and influence the environment of the oil and gas sector” she said.
Mr. Kweku Bentil, Programmes Manager of PYXERA Global explained that the programme was established to provide capacity-building services and to improve the competitiveness of local SME’s in the extractive sector.
Also, he mentioned that the Supply Chain Development Programme is to improved capacity of SMEs to meet industry requirements and standards.