Welcome to Ghana Pundit: The Home of Politics and Intelligent Analysis


Grab the widget  Tech Dreams

Insist on Your Right to Education

Uneducated citizenry is like a pitch any game can be played on it. Illiteracy is what has given the politicians in Ghana the chance to fool so many people for so a long a time.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Expectations about oil unrealistic, Prof Attafuah asks elite to act

Prof. Ken Attafuah
Prof. Ken Attafuah
Ghana's political elite have been tasked to temper public enthusiasm with realism and tone down "wild, fuzzy, wishy-washy and unrealistic public expectations" of the country's oil production. In other words, ordinary Ghanaians must be told the truth that the oil will not necessarily transform their individual situations overnight.

According to Prof Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah, Executive Director, Justice & Human Rights Institute (JHRI), "The oil industry in developing countries is typically dominated by expatriates with specialized and technical skills, and there is no reason to consider that the situation in Ghana will be any different."

For this reason, politicians, chiefs, opinion leaders and civil society groups must devise "ingenious ways of expressing sincerity and conviction, in informing people not about 'worst case scenarios' but about realistic profiles of an oil-propelled prosperity."

Prof Attafuah was delivering a paper in Accra last Wednesday on "Managing the Political and Social Expectations of Ghana's Oil" at the Institute of Economic Affairs (lEA) Oil and Gas Series. The series, which is on the theme "Utilizing Ghana's Oil and Gas Resources for Sustainable Development", was put together to improve policy makers and politicians' understanding of the difficult but crucial policy choices that the country must make in respect of the management of the oil revenues.

The discovery of commercial quantities of oil and gas in Ghana has been greeted with great socio- economic and political expectations such as massive job creation and provision of both productive and social infrastructure like hospitals, electricity, schools, and sophisticated restaurants.

Yet, it is estimated that less than 700 direct jobs would be on offer and those jobs require sophistication.

On the other hand, potential revenue from the Jubilee Field is estimated to fetch about US$1 billion on an average crude oil price of US$60 per barrel annually. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also predicted that Ghana government revenues from oil and gas could reach a cumulative US$20 billion over the production period of2012-2030 from the Jubilee field alone.

After several discussions and consultations, a Petroleum Revenue Management Proposal has been fine-tuned into a Bill, which was laid before Parliament a couple of weeks ago. The Bill seeks to establish, among others, a Ghana Petroleum Fund. The Fund has been described by some observers as a mechanism to moderate and monitor, pending, compelling government to spend on development priorities, save and invest the oil wealth to avoid overspending, and to guarantee that future generations will benefit from the country's natural resource.

At last Wednesday's event, it was noted that a commendable effort has been made in the past weeks or months to engage Ghanaians on how to manage expected revenue from oil. However, Prof Attafuah reminded the powers that be that "The management of the revenue must move in tandem with the management of the social and political expectations, and, indeed, the latter must precede the former."

Consequently, "Our political elite have no excuse than to rise to the occasion and prudently manage both the revenue and the socio-political expectations of the oil as to positively transform this country within a space of ten years."

Prof Attafuah's paper generated a lot of interest, drawing contributions from many participants. Kofi Ocran of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) noted that it was imperative to examine expectations of the masses. He cited the case of Takoradi where expectations of the oil had literally changed the local economic situation with attendant rising cost of living.

"The political people, you have a real job ahead and the earlier you got running the better," he suggested.

Hon Inusah Fuseini, Deputy Minister of Energy, allayed the fears of participants, saying "Government is deeply aware of the resource curse that has plagued many nations."

It was suggested that a clause should be inserted in the local content document being worked on to compel multinational oil firms to train local experts to gradually assume key positions in the oil and gas sector sometime in the future.

The draft "Local Content and Local Participation in Petroleum Activities - Policy Framework" indicates that it is the desire of government that the control, as well as, the benefits in the oil and gas discovery and production will remain with Ghanaians.

According to the document, the vision of government is to achieve "full local participation in all aspects of the oil and gas value chain of at least 90% by 2020." An objective of the policy is to increase capabilities and international competitiveness of domestic business and industrial sectors. However, the 90% goal has been described as too ambitious and unrealistic.

Source: Public Agenda/Ghana

No comments:

Ghana Pundit Headline News

E-mail subscription

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Pan Africa News

Graphic Ghana


Peacefm Online - News with a vision

The Times - World News

The Times - Africa News

Pambazuka News :Emerging powers in Africa Watch

AfricaNews - RSS News

The Zimbabwe Telegraph

BBC News | Africa | World Edition

Modern Ghana

My Blog List