The Acting Finance Officer of the Centre for Development Partnerships of the World Bank, Miss Akyaah Dapaah, has urged civil society and other stakeholders to sensitize the local communities as to how best to effectively manage and benefit from the country’s oil and gas discovery.
She said that the CDP/World Bank has a civil society fund that focuses on civil engagements for the empowerment of marginalised and vulnerable groups to give the citizens greater say in the ownership of development processes by promoting inclusive and equitable development.
Miss Dapaah said this at a sensitization workshop for community opinion leaders, youth groups, business community and members of the Jomoro District Assembly at Half Assini in the Jomoro District of the Western Region.
The one-day workshop which was organised by CDP/World Bank in collaboration with Afro Global Alliance, a non-governmental organisation, was on the theme “Ghana extracting industry: creating platform for transparency and accountability of natural resource use”, brought together Chiefs and sub-chiefs, youth groups, student leaders, opinion leaders, representatives of the District Assembly and heads of department.
Miss Dapaah said that the CDP has so far awarded various amounts ranging from 8,000 to 15,000 Ghana cedis to six local civil organisations in 2009 under its civil fund grant to empower the people in their socio-economic development.
Mr Nyanyi Kablan-Victor, Jomoro District Chief Executive in a welcome address, commended the organisers for such an intervention saying that with the discovery of oil in the area there was the need for the people to be well informed on the process of probity, transparency and accountability.
He said oil was a precious resource which generates mixed feelings and reactions on the minds and hearts of the people, and comes along with challenges and opportunities which must be well guided for maximizing its benefits to the citizens.
Mr Imoro Abudu, Programme Manager of Afro Global Alliance gave an overview of the challenges inherent in oil and gas discovery and the major lessons to be learnt from other countries and how the country and its citizens can derive lessons from any such disturbances.
He urged government to formulate pragmatic policies that would go a long way in satisfying the goals of the people, and to ensure it avoids the type of insurgency in other parts of Africa such as in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria and the Cabinda Province of Angola.
Awulae Annor Adjei, Paramount of the Jomoro Traditional Area, advised the government to recognise the effort and contributions of the indegenes and to take the appropriate steps to make them derive the maximum benifits from the oil and gas discoveries.
He pledged the support and cooperation of the chiefs and people of the traditional authority, and commended the organisations to sensitize and implement their interventions to the people of the Jomoro District.
Mr Vitus Azeem, Executive Officer of Integrity Initiative, also made a presentation on the demand for probity, transparency and accountability on the country’s oil and gas find and contributions expected of the people of the area.