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Congratulation to Ghana: Oil is a blessing but…

Sat, 18 Dec 2010 Source: Kanduri, Moses

As President John Evans Atta-Mills opens the first flow of the country’s oil, permit me to congratulate Ghanaians for this giant discovery in a modernized and historic world. I congratulate the partners that have worked all this years to ensure that this discovery was actualized. We are most happy because oil has become an additional resource to the already existing ones that our country is dependent on. Realizing the facts that this will add value to the economic, social and cultural development, we should be advised that it will not have an immediate direct translation into our living standards hence we need to exercise patience and wait for the arrival of the proceeds.

I also wish to extend a congratulatory message to the parliament of Ghana for a careful thought and approval of the collateralization of the oil. This is a further assurance that Ghanaians will see massive development in both infrastructure and living standards.

In many parts of the world, the living standards of people are both directly and indirectly affected and the fortune of nations is determined by the result of oil explorations. Oil keeps the factors of the industrialized countries working and provides the revenues, which enable oil exporters to execute ambitious national and economic development plans. However let us be mindful of the fact that, many of the countries where oil can be found are politically unstable. Developed nations with an oil-dependency have a vested interest in such countries and may seek to influence the politics of such countries to their own advantage.

Let me also mention that while many of the products obtained from oil are hugely beneficial to mankind, many are also highly venomous. Oil is a carbon based fuel and the primary way it is used is to burn it, releasing more than its weight in carbon dioxide (CO2) because of the added oxygen and CO2 is a greenhouse gas and is expected by most scientists to be a cause of global warming. This means that we need to be careful with activities that surround this great discovery and exploration. Our environments and people should be protected against its hazards’.

Socio-culturally, it is highly likely that there will be mass migration of people from all over the countries especially from the villages “deprived communities” to the western region on pretext of acquiring jobs from the activities of the oil. It is our appeal to the government to adopt a multi-stakeholder approach to oil exploration and in place involving the triad of government, oil companies and host communities. The multi-stakeholder mechanism should address issues of biodiversity conservation and sustainable management of issues relating to the found oil weather positive or negative.

Once again, congratulation to all Ghanaians and we have all reasons to celebrate this Christmas in a grand style. Merry Christmas in advance and a happy new year.

Signed: Moses Kanduri

City University of New York

Columnist: Kanduri, Moses