General News of Saturday, 31 January 2015
Source: Graphic Online
Members of the Western Regional House of Chiefs have expressed anger over government’s handling of a request for a share of the oil revenue to be allocated solely to development projects in the Western region.
Ghana discovered oil in commercial quantities in 2007 in the Cape Three Points area off the coast of Western Region.
In 2010 when actual production started, the chiefs from the Western region went to Parliament and demanded that 10 percent of the revenue expected from the production should be dedicated to the development of the region.
The chiefs who had visited Parliament to make inputs into the Petroleum Production and Petroleum Revenue Management Bills argued that, although the region contributes a huge chunk of the country’s resources, it was yet to enjoy a fair share of the national cake.
They therefore wanted government to dedicate 10 per cent of the oil revenue for the region’s infrastructural development
To the chiefs, the 10 percent was to make up for the “unfair treatment meted out to the region in the past in terms of development.”
Some Ghanaians expressed resentment over the chiefs demands and described it as “ridiculous and must not be entertained.”
A then Member of Parliament for Sene, Twumasi Appiah for instance said, “I wonder why any person or a group of persons will claim ownership of the sea.
“For me in my constituency at Sene, we have forest; no body just gets up and says I am going to cut down the tree because I want the tree for commercial use. They can’t claim ownership of the forest in my constituency.
“Go to Brong Ahafo, we also have gold, diamond, cocoa and everything. Why aren’t we saying that give us 10 per cent of that royalty,” Twumasi Appiah said.
Government in a response then assured the chiefs to exercise patience and said a number of development projects including the gas plant at Atuabo together with a number of projects would take off in the region.
Almost five years after the initial demand, the chiefs are expressing anger over how the request was handled.
The Vice President of the House, Nana Akwasi Agyemang told Accra based Starr FM that they were not happy.
“In a situation where we do not get it, there is frustration and anger straightaway. So as we speak now, our subjects are angry with us. People think nananom in the region are not doing enough…. Come to Western region you will see 18km of rubber. How has that rubber benefited us, how has the people of Western region benefited. So in a situation where even when the government was going to put Ghana Rubber on divestiture and the chiefs on whose land it operates demanded 5 per cent, government refused. So in such a situation, what do the people of western region do?