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13.06.2005 Feature Article

Gas Pipeline Project - A step in the right direction for Ghana

The petrol price increase not only affected the poor but it has created many problems for the government including numerous "Wahala" demonstrations which waste money and time. While I commend the CJA for making their voices heard, the money wasted on "Wahala" demonstrations should be given to the poor who need it because nothing has come out of them. Who are the financial backers of these demonstrations anyway? Demonstrations in a democratic society prove that many people are not happy with part of the government's policies. But one would have hoped the Government would pay attention to these demonstrations but it has "stuck to its guns" concerning the increase in petrol prices. Still the numerous "Wahala" goes on and CJA is not backing down. The blind, the cripple and the homeless naked individuals roaming in the streets of Accra will benefit from every penny spent on the demonstrations. That money should be used to open centers teaching the youth about creating wealth for themselves i.e. carpentry, painting , decorating, refrigeration, mechanical engineering, construction and others that will make them do something better with their lives. The government should not be depended on everything.

The government should be commended for its effort it is making in the construction phase of the West African Gas Pipeline Project. The Gas Pipeline would not only tap gas resources from Nigeria for the mutual benefit of countries involved, it alleviates situations where the economy has to rely solely on the outcome of petrol prices.

Whenever petrol prices go up, prices of products and services also go up in Ghana. There are no set prices and the poor get ripped off by the greedy ones using the increase as an excuse.

The Ministry of Energy explains that; "The West African Gas Pipeline will be a 678 kilometres onshore and offshore high pressure transmission pipeline which will transmit natural gas from Nigeria to customers in Benin, Ghana and Togo. The pipeline will be built, owned and operated by the West African Gas Pipeline Company, whose current shareholders are; Chevron Texaco West African Gas Pipeline Limited (38.8 per cent) Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (26 per cent), Shell Overseas Holdings Limited (18.8 per cent) and Takoradi Power Company Limited (Ghana) 17.0 per cent. Benefits that are expected to accrue to Ghana from the project include reduced cost of thermal electricity generation through reduced fuel and maintenance costs, open access to the pipeline enabling the transportation of indigenous gas, once discovered. The rest are environmentally cleaner source of fuel leading to reduction of greenhouse emissions and the development of secondary gas market for industrial and domestic use".

On a visit to Ghana in January 2004, petrol prices had been increased by another 10,000 cedis per gallon. What I saw was very pathetic. I happened to be in one of the trotros as it had been a while since I boarded one for "old time sake". The passengers were hurling insults to the driver for charging double. It was not a pretty sight. Most people complained that they could not afford that fare on a daily basis. Even though the price was not bothersome to me, I thought about those passengers angry because many drivers are taking advantage of the petrol increase. The insults went back and forth and how life was going to be unbearable for many people.

In 2005, the price of petrol went up again and the invention of wahala demonstrations by CJA. Many people are still complaining about the increase but the government is saying the increase is good for the economy.

As a country, we have to learn to continue to be self reliant and energy is one of the areas we have to invest in so we can gain a lot from to help move our economy to a better one. Nigeria is a rich nation because of its oil. Ghana can alleviate the increase in fuel costs and at the same time become environmental friendly.

We trust that the company(s) entrusted to do the job effectively and have already manufactured 190 kilometres of the pipe will not rush to finish the job by taking advantage of the trust imposed on them by the government. They will follow the time table they have set themselves to achieve their goals. With many corrupt malpratices already unearthed, the Ghanaian populace will not be taken for granted and they will cherish the project when completed.

This project when completed during the Presidency of Mr. J.A. Kufour will be a great legacy for him and much to talk about just like the creation of the Akosombo Dam which is legendary. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Mr. CNN-Mensah
Mr. CNN-Mensah, © 2005

This author has authored 23 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: CNNMensah

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