Shawbell Consulting to build on recognition–CEO

Shawbell Consulting says winning two awards in the area of oil and gas consulting will spur it to provide more quality consulting and legal services to its clients.

Ms. Phyllis M. Christian, Chief Executive, Shawbell Consulting, an indigenous consulting firm speaking in an interview on the sidelines of the annual Ghana Oil and Gas Awards (GOGA) which saw the company winning the Consultancy Company of the Year award said it was an honour for the company to be recognised for its contributions to the industry.

Shawbell Consulting also for the third time in a row has been adjudged the best in law consulting for players in the oil and gas industry at the Oil and Gas Ghana Industry (OGGA) awards.

The award is in recognition of the company’s immense and bespoke law consulting services it rendered to players in the country’s oil and gas industry.

Mr. Christian said the company had worked hard this year although the general business environment had not been favourable to all businesses.

The company cited electricity price hikes, staff and business operating costs, and high interest rates as some of the issues that confronted businesses.

Ms. Christian said the country’s oil and gas industry had its fair share of the global challenges confronting the industry.

“It was a tight business operating framework this year and each month was an uphill task. The petroleum industry had its share of restrictions due to the Ghana-Cote d’Ivoire boundary dispute, of course, as well as the slump in global oil prices.”

She said what kept her company going was to focus its eye on some positive industry developments such as TEN and the unfolding gas industry, the legislative framework being consolidated, as well as the institutional developments to reinforce petroleum sector policy, regulation and operation.

These she said were good indicators of what the industry was expecting going forward, if those resources and institutions were properly and conscientiously managed.

“The Minister of Finance Seth Terkper reiterated that oil revenues are still a mere drop in the bucket compared to our country’s revenue at less than 5 per cent, and less than 1.5 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, but he concedes that the services sector is growing and government policies ought to be implemented to make this happen.

She stated that on that basis the sector’s role could not be downplayed adding that “this drop in the bucket can mean a whole tank of water to those of us that have chosen to operate in this relatively new industry”.

“We do not want any oil companies with options to come to Ghana only to find that the context is not conducive for them. The policy track of government must be to ensure increased interest in Ghana by the stronger international players with proven capacity to deliver,” she said.

To this end, Ms. Christian said the government must also institute capacity building, fiscal and other policy measures to assist those capable and competent indigenous companies, including its key business partners, namely professional consultancy and law firms, to join and even lead the foreign players in their work here in Ghana.

On the awards Ms. Christian said, “There were ups and downs in 2016 and business was by no means the best for many private sector entities, not excluding us.  So why does anyone deserve an award in such times? When an organisation is running on empty and there is unrelenting pressure from harsh economic conditions, it must harness its vision, ideas, diversity, and people to ensure that the engine keeps running.  It is no mean task.”

The awards she said says a lot for the diversity we offer as a firm. It is important to recognise that lawyers can be versatile and diversified in the type of services they can provide to any service area or industry.

She said the company this year undertook legislative mapping, sector analyses and other services in the oil and gas sector, aside from providing the standard advisory services to clients.

“For example, we were proud to see the evolution of the new Public Financial Management (PFM) law.  This is because Shawbell Consulting had developed the conceptual draft under the auspices of GIFMIS and the Ministry of Finance, in the project to reform Ghana’s PFM regime,” she said.

Credit: Shawbell  Consulting