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Friday, December 3, 2010

Okudzeto on oil collateralisation: Hypocritical NPP must seek national interest

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwah
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwah
Government says its singular motivation for the collateralisation of the country’s oil revenue is to accelerate the pace of development in the country.

A Deputy Information Minister, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa told news men in Accra on Thursday that the country must opt for addressing the many challenges that face the country now rather than go through all the pain, suffering and loss of lives just because they want to live cash behind.

He was reacting to the controversial collateralisation policy agenda which has taken a political partisan inclination.

The ruling government led by Vice-President John Mahama has been vehement in advocating for the collateralisation of the oil revenue with its Members of Parliament mincing no words and actions to have clause 5 of the Petroleum Oil Revenue Management Bill currently before Parliament amended.

Currently clause 5 of the bill outlaws the collateralisation of the country’s oil revenue.

On the other hand, the opposition New Patriotic Party which played a crucial role in the drafting of the bill has been supportive of the clause.

Deputy Information Minister, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwah insists the NPP’s position is “hypocritical,” “non nationalistic” and “borne out of personal parochial calculations.”

He argued the NPP is afraid of staying in opposition in perpetuity if the government is able to use the revenue to be accrued from the oil revenue collateralisation for massive infrastructural development.

“If they allow this to happen this government will have funds to develop this country and the people will be happy with the pace of development which might not make it easy for them to win political power. This is only their political action.

“I ask should everything be reduced to gaining political power and should we reduce everything in this country to mere partisan benefit? We are of the view that we shouldn’t. And this is the time that we should have only one motivation- national interest."

He further stated the NPP whilst in government collateralised the country’s oil even before production.

He quoted portions of an agreement between Vitor SA and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation signed on August 2008 in which the latter was seeking approval from the Ministry of Energy for the former to provide the crude oil needs of Tema Oil Refinery and the GNPC.

The GNPC pledged its ten per cent stake in the Jubilee oil fields to be used as collateral for the payment of crude oil expenses incurred to Vitor SA.

For the same party to resist the collateralisation of the oil revenue in 2010 was to say the least hypocritical, he said.

But former deputy Energy Minister and NPP Member of Parliament for Adansi-Asokwa KT Hammond says the deputy Information Minister is being disingenuous.

He said government had all the opportunity to take out the controversial clause 5 of the bill at cabinet level before bringing it to Parliament.

Story by Nathan Gadugah/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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