Oil was expected to generate the largest inflow of revenue in the continent’s history, and more than 10 times funds provided through Western donors annually in aid for developmental projects.
Mrs. Juliana Azumah-Mensah, Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs, announced these at a forum on the nation’s oil find for Junior and Senior High Students in Accra on Tuesday.
The 120 students drawn from the 10 regions included those from the State School for the Deaf and May’s Educational Centre in Greater Accra Region, Mawuko Girls and Mawuli School from Ho in the Volta Region, Saint Mary’s JHS from Brong Ahafo Region and SDA JHS from the Northern Region.
Mrs. Azumah-Mensah said government was committed to ensure that revenue that would be accrued from Ghana’s oil find was utilised judiciously.
“Oil find can deliver some benefits, however, with the high prevalence of corruption in the Ghanaian society, Ghana cannot be assured of such benefits, if certain preventive measures are not put in place to regulate the industry,” she said.
Mrs. Azumah-Mensah noted that the global call for transparency and accountability in the extractive sector encouraged Ghana to sign the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in 2003.
She said as part of government’s measures to enforce transparency in the oil and gas industry, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning had embarked on a nation-wide public consultation on a draft proposal on how best to manage the expected revenue from oil and gas production.
Mrs. Azumah-Mensah explained that the forum was organised to provide the students an overview of Ghana’s oil find and solicit their views and expectations of the industry.
She said “The Department of Children believes that active involvement of students in the on-going deliberations is very productive hence the forum”.
Mrs Azumah-Mensah appealed to stakeholders in the oil industry to periodically update the knowledge of students on their operations in order to let them feel part of the decision-making process and management of the oil find.
Dr Joe Amoako-Tuffuor, Tax Policy Advisor of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, said a nation-wide survey conducted by the Ministry, indicated that students required government to use more of the oil revenue to construct more basic and secondary schools to provide better foundation for their education.
“They also want the oil revenue to be used to enhance operations of security agencies to improve performance and allow the Ministry and the Investment Advisory Board to be the sole managers of the oil revenue,” he said.
Dr. Amoako-Tuffuor assured the students that their opinions expressed at the forum would be submitted to Cabinet for consideration and implementation on issues pertaining to the nation’s oil and gas industry.
Mr. Rene Van Dongen, Deputy Country Director, United Nations International Children’s Education Fund, said the dialogue with students on Ghana’s oil find would be published and their recommendations implemented in future policies.
During an open forum, the students expressed concern about how government would handle problems associated with oil production; and employment avenues for the physically challenged in the oil industry.
They appealed to government to resolve any impasse on the boundary with L’ Cote D’Ivoire with regard to oil production and improve the living standards of indigenes in the oil production area.