A GROUP OF Nigerians and Canadians belonging to Sigma-Basestar Technical Services, a company with investments in various oil and gas companies, have arrived at the Ahanta area in the Western Region. They are there to share their experiences with the chiefs and people on the merits and demerits of the oil industry.
They also want the people to be conversant with the operations of oil companies and understand how the oil discovered in the region can either diversify the local economy or bring conflicts to the area.
Speaking to traditional rulers in the Ahanta Traditional Area at Busua in the Western Region, Dr. Soky Amachree, Chief Executive Officer and leader of the six-member team indicated that they were in Ghana to offer expert advice to residents living around the oil field to avert the “the terrible experiences” of those around the Niger Delta in Nigeria.
He explained that the oil rich region in Nigeria was so under developed and lacked basic infrastructure to the extent that the people see the oil as a curse rather than a blessing adding “We want your oil to be a blessing to improve the living conditions of the people”.
The company, which has established an office in Accra, is also operating in the oil-rich Delta State of Nigeria and Canada.
He noted that the company has prepared a special document for sustainable community economic development, which was presented to the chiefs and people of Ahanta.
Nana Bonsa, Chief of Akentenkyi, received the document on behalf of the chiefs of Ahanta and commended the company for the initiative and said the traditional council would study it.
He added that though the Ahanta area was endowed with many natural resources including rubber plantations, timber and fine beaches, it lacked the needed infrastructural development and that most of the indigenes continue to wallow in poverty.
He was hopeful that the oil discovered off Cape Three Points would benefit the people directly through job creation and improve their standard of living.
Ebow Haizel Ferguson, Director of Corporate Affairs and Community Relations of the company, noted that the initiative was to build the capacity of the people in the area, open avenues to employment and other income generating activities in relation to the oil industry.
According to the document (model), the company will source funds from the government and the private sector to the tune of GH¢5million towards the creation of businesses and other economic activities in the Cape Three Points area.
Mr. Ron Daye, a Canadian chemical engineer and member of the team, emphasized that there was the need for the people to take advantage of not simply jobs, but business opportunities that would be created as a result of the oil discovery.
The team had earlier on paid a courtesy call on the Western Regional Minister, Paul Evans Aidoo, who reiterated that the government of the National Democratic Congress would review the agreement the previous government concluded with the oil companies.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Busua