Saturday, August 11, 2007
OIL AT 50
By: BONIFACEIOUS K. ATIASE
GHANA is in the process of being transformed into a land that could be described as “flowing with milk and honey”. However, conscious efforts on the part of the national leadership ought to be aimed at ensuring that “the flow” does not get trenched and (mis) directed into the sea of human ignorance, greed, selfishness and inefficiency.
At the crucial time when all the necessary preparations and essential arrangements were being put in place for the AU summit to be hosted in Accra (its original home base); heart-warming news came through to the effect that Ghana had struck oil in a potentially unbelievable commercial quantity. Incidentally, this ground-breaking discovery was made during the nation’s anniversary? A good omen? Or a mystery? Interestingly, the answer to this three-fold question brings us face to face with the very first line of our national anthem:
God bless our homeland Ghana…
Of course, he certainly has and still continues to do so. Peace and relative political stability in the sub-region is ample evidence that attests to this fact. As a peaceloving people, we need to keep cherishing, protecting and nurturing the fragile peaceful atmosphere until it grows into the powerful virtue that would eventually demolish all the ethno/political prejudices. Since this is a collective responsibility, we are all enjoined to exhibit a very high level of discipline, maturity and patriotism during the 2008 general election.
And make our nation great and strong…
Geographical concentration of economic power is invariable the direct result of eight countries that have been globally acknowledged as the most developed countries on earth, having identified themselves under a powerful umbrella known as “the G8”. A country like South Africa, for instance, is synonymous with gold production while Nigeria goes with oil. With the bright prospects of these two resources being extracted from the womb of mother Ghana, she may also, hopefully, be on the road to becoming an economic power on the African continent.
Fill us with true humility…
This is absolutely important and crucial to the relisation of the above appetite whetting ideals. As a matter of fact, a proud, arrogant, insensitive and opportunistic crop of leaders will only help to deepen our national woes in spite of the available natural resources.
And make us to resist the oppressor’s rule…
We are made to understand, rather unfortunately, that only a minute fraction (about five per cent) of revenue on gold from our own gold mine is credited to Ghana. Any attempt
to similarly sabotage our oil revenue through the offer of an unfavourable operational deal package by a so-called foreign stakeholder must be resisted tooth and nail.
The re-denomination factor
At long last the ancient pesewa has resurrected with a ‘glorified body’ to assure Ghanaians that the re-denomination exercise is not retrogressive. The cedi note, on the other hand, can also boast a rich store of interesting experiences at various points in time, notable, the introduction of smaller sized notes which eventually replaced the larger ones, following the gradual withdrawal of the letter, just as is happening in the case of the re-denomination.
I have heard pessimistic arguments to the effect that since the re-denominated cedi is now equivalent to the dollar, it is bound to “sink” because unlike the buoyant US economy, the Ghanaian economy doesn’t have the “solid base” to support the re-denomination. Quite myopic! Even if it is true, we now have every cause to reorient our thinking in the light of the discovery of oil (which certainly has the potential of boosting and strengthening our economy) about six months after the announcement concerning the re-denomination exercise. Could it be a miracle? Well, the answer to this question, once again, is reflected in the first line of our prestigious national anthem – God bless our homeland Ghana.
Daily Graphic - Saturday, August 11, 2007 Page: 7