Dr Steven Donyinah, lecturer at the Department of Chemical Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, has cautioned those with great expectations of direct employment from the Oil and Gas industry to consider alternatives.
He said the industry would not need ‘too many hands in the form of direct jobs’ because it is a skilful sector, which requires the services of specific experts at the different stages of exploration, drilling and refinery.
Dr Donyinah said this in a paper on the Oil and Gas Industry at a policy dialogue programme, organized by the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) and the Ghana Pentecostal Council (GPC) in Accra.
He, however, advised that people should devise business strategies to enable them to benefit from the industry, saying it holds much prospects in the areas of provision of ancillary services.
The event forms part of a series of consultations being held by the CCG and the GPC to educate the public on the opportunities and challenges of the oil industry and the need to be realistic about expectations of the industry.
The forum, attended by civil society representatives and traditional rulers, was on the theme: “Ghana’s Oil and Gas Industry: A Briefing of Religious Bodies on the Current State of Affairs.”
Dr Donyinah said in terms of the environment, the Oil and Gas Industry was a very unfriendly one, which does not entertain mistakes because of its devastating consequences.
“This area requires a high calibre of expertise, which is currently lacking in the country,” he noted.
He said even though KNUST has been training students for the industry, the oil exploration companies had had to take most of such graduates abroad to deepen their expertise before engaging them.
Dr Edward Omane-Boamah, Deputy Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, assured that the government would do everything possible to ensure that the Oil and Gas Industry does not suffer the same problems bedevilling the extractive industry.
He said adequate regulatory framework was being developed to ensure responsible production.
Dr Joe Amoako-Tuffour, a Tax Policy Advisor at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, said experiences of Nigeria and Norway offer good lessons for Ghana, adding she has no excuse but to do everything possible to derive maximum benefit from the sector.
Dr Amoako-Tuffour estimated that each Ghanaian could be entitled to one barrel of oil each year should the Jubilee Oil Fields be in production for their maximum 20-year lifespan.
Mrs Nana Ama Yirrah, Executive Director of Community Land Development Foundation, (COLANDEF), an NGO, which provides tailor-made capacity building support to organizations and actors in the land sector, called for a land use policy to guide the purposes for land acquisition especially, in the oil find areas.
She said this had become necessary in view of the fact that various organizations and interests have moved to these areas, engaging with the traditional rulers to acquire lands for unspecified projects.
The Reverend Dr Fred Deegbe, General Secretary of the CCG, expressed worry that in spite of the abundance of minerals and natural resources, Ghana is yet to get out of many developmental challenges, including poverty.
Rev Deegbe, however, expressed optimism that things would change for the better and called on all to do their best for the development of the country.
Nii Okaija III, Gbese Mantse, commended the CCG and the GPC for inviting traditional rulers to the forum, saying they deemed it a great honour to be part of the dialogue.
He said it is wrong to judge all traditional rulers as being anti-Christians.