Senegal has launched a national dialogue on oil and gas as it expects to begin export in four yearsâ€™ time â€“ between 2021 and 2023.
President Macky Sall launched the dialogue on Tuesday saying: â€œAs far as I know, Senegal is the first-ever nation to hold such a participatory national consultation on oil and gas.â€
The one day forum at the Abdou Diouf international conference centre some 30 kilometres outside Dakar, was attended by participants drawn from all the regions and in sections of society.
Sall speaking at the forum said, among other things, that there will be a revenue-sharing formula, so that apart from the annual allocations to the national budget from oil revenue, there will be a stabilisation fund for export earnings; and a savings fund for posterity, among others.
He said all these will be provided for and captured in bills, which will be presented to the National Assembly for enactment of the relevant legislations.
Sall further announced that the goal is to wrap up the national dialogue and related processes by October 2018.
Tuesdayâ€™s national forum was attended by members of the government, representatives of the private sector, civil society, trade unions, political movements, women and youths, religious and community leaders, and members of Senegalâ€™s National Assembly, among others.
Speakers at the forum made many recommendations, such as creating refining capacity in Senegal to add value to exports of petroleum products; to ensure proper bidding for the award of oil and gas contracts; to be mindful of the security implications of such industries, as well as awareness of the environmental effects of oil and gas exploration and extraction, among others.
Sall in his interventions welcomed their suggestions and called for national consensus; and to avoid playing politics, as his invitation for national consultations was designed to facilitate a participatory process in order to safeguard the interest of the Senegalese people.
It would be noted that sections of Senegalâ€™s opposition have turned down Sallâ€™s invitation to participate in the national dialogue.
They assert that Sallâ€™s government had already put in place structures, as well as gotten into investment arrangements and awarded blocks to oil and gas prospectors; all these without prior consultation with the Senegalese people. (APA/NAN)