Ghana must leverage energy resources to accelerate economic growth – StanChart
Ghana must leverage the enormous energy and natural resources to accelerate the pace of economic growth, Michael Rees, Head of Standard Chartered Wholesale Banking Business has said.
He also asked the Executive to deal head on with the problems of unemployment.
Speaking to journalists in Accra, Mr Rees said the country’s resources presented fantastic ingredients that could be tap into for growth and urged government to seize the opportunity now.
“Ghana must seize the moment to use gas to produce energy to feed industries and also reduce the import of energy at high cost,” he said, adding that the country must take advantage of the oil find and infrastructural development to address the problem of unemployment and create high value jobs.
“The economy is doing well but there is also a growing threat of unemployment. Government can tap into the infrastructure development and oil production to deal with the unemployment problem.”
While admitting that building infrastructure was a huge capital investment, Mr Rees said the way out was to use public, private partnership to address the gaps.
“Ghana has a lot of resources that makes it attractive to investors but I do not get the sense of urgency, the will and momentum the opportunity presents,” he said, warning that other developing nations with natural resources were also in the market to compete for the same investment inflows.
Mr Rees said it was imperative for government to speed up the development of the gas infrastructure project that aims to transport gas from the Jubilee Field to enable it reap the benefit of boosting its electricity generation requirement for industries and to reap the additional revenue.
Currently the gas from oil production is injected back into the well and this Mr Rees said could have cost implications and deny the country the opportunity to use the resource to generate electricity.
Almost a year into commercial production of oil, Ghana continued to flare associated gas at the Jubilee Field, which had 600 million barrels of proven reserves and a potential for about 1.5 billion barrels of oil.
Mr Rees said the absence of the gas infrastructure constituted a waste and loss in revenue and the savings that government could have made in its use to support the supply of cost effective energy.
He said in view of the economic benefits of the gas transmission processing infrastructure, the country should make it a priority and look for the resources to complete it to make gas a major source of energy.
On banking, he said, a strong banking sector was imperative for sustained growth, adding, however, that it would be difficult to say exactly how much capital would be needed for the banks to stimulate growth.
He said StanChart would continue to hold on to the fundamentals of banking, which had helped the bank to scale the financial crisis over the years and to deliver record annual performances over the last eight years.