Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam, Executive Director of ACEP, says the discovery of oil and gas in commercial quantities in Ghana in 2008 could become a curse if not managed properly.
Dr Adam, who disclosed this yesterday during the start of a media fellowship programme on oil and gas in Accra, said the country must work hard to develop the management, institutional and policy frameworks in the oil and gas sector to prevent the resource curse that occurred in Nigeria and Angola, among others.
“If you have institutions and the foundations are right, and you don’t make conscious effort to insulate institutions on that process, the resources would be destroyed. Some have even labeled these happening as a resource curse. Whenever you hear of the resource curse, it involves the management, institutional and policy players,” he said.
According to him, government has to ensure a balance of interest among all stakeholders – government, private companies and people living in communities where the resources are extracted in order to manage resources well.
“If we have to manage our resources well, the political economy requires that you balance the interest of all stakeholders – government, private companies and people in the communities who are the true owners of the resources. The only way we can ensure that we balance the interest of all stakeholders is to ensure that we all have equal leverage or we are near equal leverage,” Dr Adam added.
He stated that the main aim of the programme was to train journalists in the area to become critical voices in our country as far as the management of the oil and gas resources was concerned.
The 6-month Media Fellowship programme entailed intense lectures with practical work and field visits to better equip journalists on the oil and gas sector in Ghana
“We don’t want this to happen in Ghana, we don’t also want this to happen to emerging African producers of oil, therefore ACEP considers it a duty to contribute its part in preparing our environment to confront the things that come along,” he said.
A resource curse happens when other sectors of the economy are neglected and attention is given to a single sector.
By Nii Ogbamey Tetteh