General News Tue, 11 Mar 2008

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Nduom calls for a dev't plan for Oil communities

WA, March 11, GNA- Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, Presidential Candidate of the Convention People's Party (CPP) has called on the Government to draw a development and modernization plan for the surrounding communities where Oil and Gas have been discovered.

This according to him was in line with his view that communities within the catchments area of natural resources be given recognition in the sharing of benefits that accrue to the nation. He said this at a news conference at Wa on Tuesday to express his views on some major national issues before rounding off his three-day campaign tour of some communities in the Upper West Region. The conference, which was attended by some of the prominent party functionaries in the region centred on management of the Oil and Gas discovery, shortage of water in the country and matters relating to the Electoral Commission and the Voters' Register.

He said for fairness sake, the nation must go back and ensure that those communities that provided gold, diamond and other minerals, "which had been taken away to benefit foreign investors, also get justice that had been denied them for so long".

"We do not want to repeat the situation where the people of the Niger Delta in Nigeria suffer in poverty while the Oil companies and their government reap the benefits".

He spoke against what he termed as the "negative and sometimes defeatist attitude" of some people, who keep preaching about the availability of Oil in commercial quantities being a curse, noting that, such an attitude was a lack of confidence that must be reversed. On the current water shortage in the country, he said it was the direct result of the 1966 military coup, which cut short many infrastructure projects that were taken care of in the Seven Year Development Plan.

After the coup, he explained that the international development finance companies discouraged the various governments from investing in the production and distribution of water and electricity and as a result the inefficient systems have not kept up with population growth. He said the water crises was a big problem, which must be discussed as a national problem without any partisan political colouring since that would not work.

"Privatization will not solve the problem of finding the money to invest in modernizing and extending water production and distribution facilities"

On the Electoral Commission, he said he contested three public elections conducted by the Commission and the problems he encountered were not caused by the Commission but by political parties. "If the credibility of the Commission is eroded, we will not know any peace after the next elections as some political parties appear to be pitching themselves for an unhealthy contest". 12 March. 08

Source: GNA

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