Opinions Sun, 31 Oct 2010

National oil - A Bite of Death

Ghana is known for its poten­tial in min­eral resources like dia­mond, gold and

baux­ite, and the lat­est reports about oil dis­cov­ery in the coun­try is seen

as good news for the socio-economic devel­op­ment of the coun­try. But the

greatest questions that Ghanaians must continue to ask themselves are how

beneficial the oil will be to the country as a whole and not to the majority and

also the consequences that will follow when things turn to go the unexpected

way. Oil to a country is a blessing but mismanagement of it turns it into a

curse, this has happened to a lot of countries both around and far away from us.

The dis­cov­ery of oil in the country will help in the upper bracket of a rich

iden­tity that should put us all above petty squab­bles in the national

inter­est. Oil as been a major problem for many countries both in Africa and the

Arab world, but i think it is time for some of us to know the difference between

a national interest and a political or partisan interested so that we do not

become like the others. Ghana must become the best out of the rest.

Oil exploration and development of oil sectors in West Africa are increasing

rapidly. From the Nigeria, Libya and Angola and many others, it is now time for

Ghana to enjoy the natural gift of development but this gift can also turn into


Discovering of oil in many countries resulted in political instability, are our

political leaders also going to take on this negative feature where every

political party will be "power angry "to get the total political power over the

oil? Our political leaders need to exercise the maximum patience so that the

exploration of the oil in the country will be successful, our political leaders

must get to know that the peaceful nature of the country is more important than

anything else.

Introduction of oil into the country must not let us neglect other economic

sectors, including agriculture and manufacturing when this happen; unemployment

levels will be high as a result. What we must know is that the oil of the

country no matter how much it is can not solve all the problems of the country.

The oil industry do little to alleviate the problems, and the income disparities

will tend to be very wide, as a privileged few profit from the oil revenue,

often through corruption, while the rest of the country stagnates.

Even more serious problems that most oil country faces are the political

problems associated with oil wealth. The first is corruption, an endemic

problem, when large amounts of revenue start pouring suddenly into countries and

there is no strong institutions to monitor the oil drilling process . Another

problem is the problem of accountability on behalf of the leaders in charge. A

lot of political problems arise from lack of accountability to the people or the

concerned institutions, these problems are evident in most of the African

countries around us.

Major civil crises are at question in most of the oil countries because the

population of oil producing countries often develops a sense of entitlement to

wealth--if the country is rich in oil, the population should also be rich. The

expectation that oil revenue can take care of all problems is usually

unrealistic, particularly in countries with a large population this country.

Finally I will like to say that at the root of most problems that leads to

crises and other stagnation in a countries development is the extreme ethnic

diversity of the country. When there is no room for the unification of ethnic

groups in the country a lot of problems will arise out of that which will not be

good for the country. The country’s political leaders must stand against

nepotism and favoritisms as the oil is a test of our faith. Development within

the country must be even in order to prevent troubles as the militants group in

Nigeria. Ghanaians must therefore have a second thought concerning the oil in

the country; how well can it be taken care of and also what are its benefits to

the country.

Lamptey Alfred



Columnist: Lamptey, Alfred