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12.03.2009 Editorial

Gov`t, Kosmos should tread cautiously


There is no doubt that oil is the backbone of most successful economies in the world. Desert nations like Libya, Iran, Iraq, and Kuwait, just to mention a few, have all become powerful nations because of their huge oil deposit.

Though Ghana can boast of minerals such as gold, diamond and manganese, and agricultural products like cocoa, with Ghana being the second largest producer in the world, we still can not compare our economies to the oil producing nations, because the commodity is indispensable. It is due to this fact that Ghanaians jumped to the news when Kosmos Energy announced in 2007 that it has hit oil in commercial quantities off Cape Three Points, in the western region.

At least, Ghana would soon start exporting oil and can also ensure constant supply of the commodity for local consumption. Despite this achievement, The Chronicle is not happy with the way and manner Kosmos Energy has been announcing more new oil discoveries in the country. As we noted earlier, oil is the backbone of most economies but it is not a panacea to solving all economic problems facing developing countries, of which Ghana is part.

Early this year, a former Finance Minister, Dr. Kwesi Botchwey, warned that the expected revenue to be derived from oil would form only a minute part of the overall budget for a given fiscal year. He therefore, warned against over dependence on the commodity, which could throw our economy out of gear, if the expected revenue is not enough to shore-up the economy.

Mr. Kwaso Amoafo Yeboah, the independent presidential candidate in the 2008 elections has also come to give similar warning about the over reliance on oil, which is yet to be produced to support the economy. Despite these admonitions, oil became a major part of the 2008 election campaign, with politicians basing their projections on the potential oil revenue. Apart from the politicians, citizens of the nation have also put all their faith on the oil find and its future prospects, because of the success stories of the oil-rich countries we have mentioned above.

The Chronicle thinks all these things are happening because Kosmos Energy is raising the confidence level of Ghanaians to dizzying heights, by their constant pronouncements that they have discovered more oil. The Chronicle wishes to caution here that if Kosmos Energy does not put a stop to these constant announcements about new oil discoveries, the company could jeopardize other sectors of our economy, such as agriculture, which employs majority of the people.

If more discoveries are being made by Kosmos, that is no news to us because we already know that Ghana has struck oil in commercial quantities. The Chronicle is raising this concern because oil is a specialized area, which means that it cannot employ large numbers of Ghanaians. If the interest of the people is aroused unnecessarily, it could spell doom for this nation- and this is something that we must avoid.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."