sharing in governance of extractive industries
Discussants at a just ended two-day Africa Oil Governance Summit in Accra have once again decried and painted a gloomy picture about the benefits of the oil find to the ordinary people, local small businesses not only in Ghana but elsewhere on the continent of Africa.
They identified greedy leadership as the biggest problem that is exhibited by those who are in-charge to ensure that oil wealth has a positive impact on the lives of the people.
Citing the case of six immediate communities in the Western Region of Ghana as an example, they panelist observed that high rent, expense education, collapsed livelihood, have come to disturb the peaceful and stress-free lives that the people used to enjoy as a result of the oil find.
Discussing the topic "Translating Ghana's oil wealth to broad based development: Implications for Government, businesses and affected Communities, they were not sure that a random sampling of opinions in the six communities in the area will solicit any positive answer on impact on the lives of the people.
The paramount chief of Benyin Traditional Area, Awulai Anor Agyei in his submission noted that most of the coconut tress that used to be the source of livelihood for the people have been cut and the environment affected for farming leaving the people without any source of livelihood. He observed that the critical areas that would have impacted positively on the lives of the people have been left out and asked for how long will the people wait to benefit? He decried what has now become a chorus where year in year out since 2015 the same issues and topics are discussed without getting any action on the lives of the people. And called on the ordinary to seek redress from the courts as it is the only language the politicians understand.
Citing Nigeria as a example he noted that that the leaders or politicians do not have the ordinary people at heart. They know the right thing to do but they (politicians and leaders) are determined to amass wealth at the expense of the ordinary people. He challenged that the topic under discussions will not get any results and media reports are not heeded to
Contributing, Kwame juntuah, Chairman of Ghana's Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) wondered that considering the ills identified in catchment areas, and the speed with which oil revenue was raked in did'nt the authorities consider the plight of the people?. He political authorities in some areas did not even consult with the local authorities in the roll out projects while the ordinary people are pushed to the periphery of the town as a result of the oil find that has push rent beyoung. Citing land crisis, and fisher folks have all been severely affected as a result. He explained only roads and Agric modernization are presumed to have` a positive impact on the lives of the people but even that the real change of the people is a mirage. He asked where can we sight any project using the oil revenue and the oil revenue is on 5% of government revenue.
Adding his voice to the topic, Mathew Armah, Team Leader of the Western Region Coastal Foundation, re-interated the feeling expressed by the two other speakers and that leadership is the bane of most of the disadvantages faced by the people in the area. citing Cocoa, gold, etc he asked "any farmer could boost of two or three properties as a farmer or a miner"? All that boils down to leadership and urged that we as the people should also be blamed as we fail to get the right leaders to lead.
Concluding the ninth panel discussions of the summit, facilitator, Nana Yirrah of COLANDEF noted that until people in development practice unravel the issues involved the same talk shop will continue next year when the summit meets again in the same place.
Source: Seibik Bugri
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