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04.06.2009 Regional News

Ghana`s development is skewed in favour of Accra

By Zambaga Rufai Saminu, Takoradi - Ghanaian Chronicle
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NANA Kobinah Nketsia (v), Omanhene of Essikado Traditional area in the western region, was at his usual best at the ongoing three day oil and gas conference in Takoradi which is being organized by West Africa Business Association (WABA).

According to the traditional ruler his position on the oil and gas discovery in the region vis-à-vis the actions and inactions of the oil companies and the government of Ghana and all the major stakeholders who are to take decisions for the exploration of the resource in the region is that, there is a tyranny of over concentration of development in Accra which is not the best.

"The responsibility lies in Accra and the tyranny of doing things must henceforth change for the people of the region to enjoy the benefit of the resources" the outspoken chief pointed out to oil companies whose headquarters are in Accra.

Addressing hundreds of Oil Company representatives, service operators, representatives of government, and members of the diplomatic corps including the British High Commissioner to Ghana, His Excellency Dr. Nicholas in Takoradi on Tuesday, he said any attempt by an oil company or traditional ruler in the region to take the local people for a ride would not be accepted.

"We are all in the boat; we either sink or survive together" he served a note of caution to stakeholders of the yet to be explored oil resources of the country.

According to him, their ancestors would not forgive them if they (chiefs) attempted to give out resources to foreigners without the recourse to the future repercussion, the welfare of the people and general development of the western region which he said contributes significantly to the chunk of the zresources of the country.

Nana later turned his attention on the legislators of the region, expressing his utmost shock at their absence at the conference, which he described as the most appropriate programme and a unique platform for them to have listened to experts' point of view on the oil and gas related issues, to be able to tackle the challenges confronting the region. "I am going to castigate my own MP for that because, he was the former Attorney General and he should have been here because he knows better"

He however singled out the MP for Takoradi, Hon. Okyere Kobinah Darko and MP for Ellembele Hon. Kofi-Buah and commended them for good work in the region and being present at the ceremony Nana Nketsia who disagreed with Ms. Hannah Tetteh, Minister for Trade and Industry on the issue of underdevelopment of the region later explained his position. Ms. Tetteh had tried hard to parry the underdevelopment blame game of the region by advising that the region should learn critical lessons from the mining sector and take concrete steps to ensure that citizens do not suffer the ordeal of the past in a similar situation in the oil business. But her comment rather incurred the wrath of the traditional ruler who disagreed.

"You have the opportunity at the district, regional and national level to ensure that the events of the past will not be repeated" she said. Ms. Tetteh also called for quick action on the part of stakeholders to get the youth in the region well trained in the field of engineering and other petrochemical areas to fully enjoy what would be at stake for them n the oil field.

Nana diametrically opposed to the argument advanced by the Minister and placed the blame right on the doors of the companies who are operating in the region while establishing all their headquarters in Accra with the resources been explored from the region.

Other speakers at the conference were Ghana's energy Minister, Oteng Adjei, his deputy Armah Kofi-Buah, the British High Commissioner in Ghana, his Excellency Dr. Nicholas Westcott and a host of others.

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