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March 3, 2008 | News

BLACK GOLD SHOULD GIVE REST TO METAL GOLD



Dear Editor,

The debate everywhere on the disbursement of oil wealth once the resource is pumped up is a healthy indication that Ghanaians do not want to repeat the mistakes oil finds in other countries created. Everyone is determined to suggest a better way for the application of the wealth in our national development. It is good news that we do not have dynasties that will hog the wealth to the disadvantage of the impoverished masses.

My two cents to the debate or deliberation is that once the first barrel of the soup is pumped up, export of metal, gold and diamonds if possible, should cease at once. The government should buy every scrap of gold from legal and illegal mining and build huge reserves to act as backing for the economy that will result from the oil boom. Oil, good ol' cocoa, internal taxes, export of other produce and products, and foreign remittances should be enough to fund our development ambitions. Let's give GOLD a rest for future use!

Once we start pumping oil, the economy is going to leap faster than we can catch up with it and grow by astronomical proportions. As a result, any tiny fall in oil production or world market price will have a huge impact on the economy to the point of collapsing it. We will therefore need something that will last longer than oil to buttress the economy for any shortfall in oil production or revenue.

We cannot leave oil in the belly of the earth as reserves or store it anywhere as reserves. That will be too expensive an economic practice. Nor will it be easy to chuck large amounts of the proceeds somewhere when we have embarked on myriads of projects once we are basking in the new wealth. Ask Nigeria!

If we make the mistake of spending oil, cocoa, and gold revenues together, we won't have any tangible explanation to offer future generations when the boom has gone bust. We do not also want to revisit the poverty of the past once we have tasted wealth. Let us save what can last forever even if we can be quite prudent with our new wealth.

Let's also learn from our farmers. When there is abundance of food, farmers eat plantains and leave yams and cocoyams in the ground. Reason: Harder to store plantains but roots and tubers can store themselves for years.

Black gold has a short lifespan but metal gold can outlive us. Welcome new wealth. Long live Ghana.

Kwame BoakyeOmaha, USA.

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