Monday, 20 December 2010

Ghana delivers first oil amid hopes and fears

Ghana has delivered its first barrels of oil from the Jubilee wells, days after President John Atta Mills opened the valves, in a televised inauguration ceremony, at the 330 metre long platform off the country's Atlantic coast. It is estimated that the Jubilee field holds as much as 1.8 billion barrels of crude oil, which could earn Ghana around 50 per cent of its national revenue within the next 20 years.

Ghana has taken steps to ensure that oil revenue is distributed fairly and to the benefit of Ghanaian people. In a speech before the inauguration ceremony, Mills said that Ghana's oil wealth will be a “blessing” rather than a source of strife.

The country's lawmakers have stipulated that a clause, in the new Petroleum Revenue Management Bill, mandates the government to use the country's oil as collateral in securing funds to develop Ghana's infrastructure and economy.

Former Ghanaian president John Agyekum Kufuor has called on Ghana to manage its oil wealth judiciously and for the benefit of the people; further adding that the government should safeguard the country's energy sector with regulation that is transparent and free from corruption.

In an attempt to counter Ghana's fears that oil wealth may bring violence and conflict, Mills said that he intends to see that oil resources are used judiciously to reconstruct the country's roads and build hospitals. Speaking along the same lines, Select Committee's Energy Chairman, Moses Asaga, said that first Ghanaian oil has united the country's political parties as they prepare to develop the nation. He added that the government has also come up with a heritage fund initiative to stabilise Ghana's economy.

President of Nzema Maanle Council, Awulae Annor Adjaye, has expressed concern about the dispensation of Ghana's oil wealth, saying that he thought that meeting the 10 per cent revenue demand made by the Chiefs of Ghana's Western region, may be problematic. The demand has been officialy confirmed by Ghana's Vice President John Mahama.

Sources: Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Modern Ghana, Peace FM Online

For more news and expert analysis about Ghana, please see Ghana Politics & Security.

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