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27.11.2008 Business & Finance

'Concentration Mustn't Be On Oil Find Only'

A Former Minister of Finance and Economic Planning in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration, Professor Kwesi Botchway, has asked the government not to over-concentrate on the oil find at the expense of the development of other critical sectors of the economy.

He said a dialectical approach should be employed to ensure that equal and undivided attention was given to the exploitation of the country's oil potential, as well as the development of other important sectors, such as agriculture and manufacturing,  to avoid any shortfall in revenue that could spell disastrous consequences for the broad masses of the people.

According to him, there was also the need for civil society and the media to exercise oversight responsibility to ensure that money accruing from the oil find was properly accounted for to the public.

The former Finance Minister,  pointed out that the oil accounts must be absolutely transparent.

 Prof. Botchway explained that there was the danger that the government would over-focus on the oil find and consign the other productive sectors to the background in the scheme of activities.

Such a situation, the former Finance Minister further explained, would seriously affect, for instance,  agriculture, thereby creating shortfalls in food production, with its attendant increase in the rate of inflation.

“There are good and bad times in this life and for this reason money from the oil find should be put into a separate account and jealously guarded and accounted for to ensure that the people are protected when the economy suffers swings,” Prof. Botchway emphasised.

He said political parties contesting this year's presidential and parliamentary elections should be careful in their assurances to the people that the oil find would completely solve their poverty.

Prof. Botchway said even though the oil find was a good omen, it was unlikely to be the panacea to the country's numerous social and economic problems.

Story By Kweku Tsen