The President of the Republic, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, will perform a simple ceremony at the Jubilee Oil Fields, off Cape Three Points, today. This will begin Ghana’s official flow of oil in commercial quantities.
It is one event Ghanaians have looked forward to since the announcement of the discovery of the ‘black gold’ three and a half years ago.
Most Ghanaians are pinning their hopes on the revenue from the oil transforming the economy of this nation, and consequently improving on the living conditions of the people. The expectations are natural, given the economic advancements of countries found in the Gulf state, where oil has been able to transform even nations with desert conditions.
Unfortunately, in Africa, oil has not done much in most places, with the exception of perhaps Libya. Even in Libya, where oil money has developed infrastructure, it has not succeeded in building a robust political system.
In sub-Saharan Africa, oil has given birth to agitations and struggles for emancipation, as if it is a curse to be blessed with this natural resource. Officialdom tends to borrow more than necessary in the name of infrastructure development.
The Chronicle notes with interest the signing of the STX Korea deal, which floundered at the very last minute, not too long ago. When the deal to construct 300 units of housing for the security services, with a likely extension to reach 300,000 in the near future, was first broached, officials denied that oil money was to be used as collateral.
Now, the cat is out of the bag. The fact that the deal could go through only after Parliament had defied the voice of the people, and voted to mortgage our oil revenue for loans, tells much about the role of oil in striking the deal.
We all now understand Vice-President John Mahama, when he mounted a public platform at Winneba and used words like ‘foolish’ and ‘baloney’ to describe those opposed to the use of oil revenue as collateral for loans.
With the amendment of Clause Five, there cannot be any hindrance in the use of our resources to source loans.
The Chronicle is sounding a note of caution to those who believe that oil money is free to be used as they wish to rather tread cautiously. This nation has a way of exacting retribution on those who believe they could take everybody for a ride, because they take instruction from Government House.
Our oil money is nobody’s booty. It is meant to mitigate poverty and advance the cause of society. Let the ‘black gold’ help to improve this society, like in the Gulf State countries.