From Zambaga Rufai Saminu, Takoradi
Members of the Patriots for the Protection of Western Region Heritage (PPWRH) have punched holes into the Petroleum Revenue Management Bill (PRMB), currently before parliament awaiting deliberations, and passage into law.
According to Mr. Mireku Ducker, a leading member of the group claiming to be championing the cause of the people of the Western Region, the bill had not taken into account the interest of the people of the region.
Addressing a news conference in Takoradi recently, Mr. Ducker said, “The region had no representation on the Public Interest and Accountability Committee that has been instituted in the Bill, and yet made room for Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Association of Queenmothers, and Trade Union Congress (TUC).
Other nominees are the Ghana Journalists Association, Ghana Bar Association, Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ghana Extractive Industries, Transparency Initiative and the Academia.
Mr. Ducker queried, “Why has Western Region been forgotten in this regard, our chiefs could have been mentioned. Are we going to continue to be the richest region in terms of resources, and the poorest, with regards to infrastructural development?”
In the light of this, he said, the patriots found it intriguing not to have seen any fund instituted for this region, and therefore, urged the government to consider reviewing the bill, even if an additional month would be added to fairly assess it.
“The PPWRH is urging the government to immediately withdraw the petroleum revenue management Bill from Parliament for thorough public contributions to be made.”
They have also asked the government to consider building a refinery in the region to complement that of Tema.
In addition to that, the group also asked the government to consider stating clearly in the laws, the intake of the unemployed youth in the impoverished oil drilling communities in the region.
“A percentage of youth intakes from the impoverished catchments areas of the oil zone must be clearly captured in the Bill, to avoid future agitation. Clause 25 also anticipates onshore petroleum operations, and vividly provides for compensation and appropriate royalty payment in line with existing laws. We see it as ridiculous, because oil extraction and its associated problems are entirely different from other fields of operation, and must be have its own royalty payment law.”