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TUC cautions against bogus oil training institutions

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The Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) on Friday cautioned the citizenry to guard against the proliferation of institutions claiming to be providing skills training in the oil industry.

Mr. Kwabena Nyarko Otoo, Acting Head of the Labour Research and Policy Institute of the TUC, asked the public to report any unaccredited organisation operating in the industry to the authorities, since the brain behind such bodies was to make money rather than offering the requisite knowledge to facilitate the oil business.

Mr. Otoo sounded the warning when he spoke on “labour issues in the oil and gas industry”, at a sensitisation workshop on the oil and gas find in Ghana.

It was organised by the TUC for members of the Central Regional and District councils of labour in Cape Coast.

He also asked the government not to focus solely on the development of the oil industry to the detriment of other important sectors of the economy, like agriculture and manufacturing, as has been the case in some oil-rich African countries.

Mr. Otoo expressed the need for Ghana to learn from the civil conflicts and other challenges in countries like Nigeria and Angola associated with the oil industry.

He expressed optimism that Ghana’s thriving democracy, vibrant media, strong civil society and the opportunity to learn from other oil producing countries, would enable the people to avoid such pitfalls.

Mr. Otoo said there was no reason why the country should fail in the oil industry that would attract the needed revenue to eradicate poverty.

He said the revenue to be derived from the resource required “a big push in transparency, a constant oversight and effective and democratic order”.

The Africa Regional Co-ordinator of the Revenue Watch Institute, Mr. Emmanuel Kuyole, said the oil find was not likely to lead to massive job opportunities for Ghanaians.

Mr. Kuyole explained that the total estimated revenue from the industry in 20 years is about $20 billion, whereas total government expenditure in 2007 was about GH¢ 5.6 billion and rose to GH¢ 7.8 billion, in 2008, an increase of more than GH¢1 billion.

He stressed that the estimated revenue of GH¢1 billion a year from oil production, “is nothing to write home about”, and asked Ghanaians not to expect too much from the oil industry.

The Secretary-General of the TUC, Mr. Kofi Asamoah, called on the government to introduce more initiatives to create jobs on a large scale, since it is the only way through which poverty can be reduced, adding that “the devil only finds work for the idle hands”.

He said the TUC also expected government to expand the tax net to cover the informal sector in order to reduce the level of taxation of public sector workers.

Mr. Asamoah urged the Internal Revenue Service to look for innovative ways to collect taxes from formal and informal sector workers on the same scale.

Touching on the Single Spine Salary Structure, which takes effect from January 2010, he reiterated the need for the harmonisation and unification of salaries in the public sector.

Explaining the New Pension Scheme, he said the Pension’s Regulatory Authority, would ensure that pension monies were properly managed.

Mr. Asamoah noted that the scheme also provides for people who are self- employed such as mechanics and traders.

Source: GNA

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