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18.06.2015 Opinion

Oil And Gas Production: Protect And Compensate Livelihoods In Affected Communities

By Dorcas Aba Annan

The production and export of Oil in Ghana which started around 1980’s along the Western coast has grown to receive massive increment in the economic state of the country. The introduction of oil has subsequently reached substantial amounts and began to play a role in the structure of the Ghanaian economy when it was used for commercial purposes.

Most people had the assumption that, the introduction of the oil will restore all hopes and bring more businesses, income and all other minor challenges would be resolved, but rather the oil discovery and subsequent production have not translated into fulfilling the expectations of many people.

Since the oil production begun, prices have continued to increase for most basic commodities everywhere in the country; hence an ordinary Ghanaian toils or suffer before earning money for the day especially those on the streets.

In Ghana, the most of the communities where the oil sector activity concentrates are traced in the Western part of the country. These communities can be found in the coastal and have communities which are dependent solely on fishing as their main occupation.

Several forums, programmes and discussions have been carried out to highlight the impact of oil production on communities; hence, livelihoods continue to suffer and bear all other impacts on their occupation and their lives.

Even though, some of these communities were compensated with buildings of community center and other minor benefit, but the activities continue to hinder their main occupation being fishing.

A detailed report by the Daily Graphic(Graphic.com.gh) on June 17, 2015 revealed that livelihoods in some host oil and gas producing communities are being threatened as a result of the adverse effects of the exploration and production of the country’s petroleum resources.

It was indicated in the report that, at Anokyi community in the Ellembele District of the Western Region, the Chief, Nana Avo Blay V, said the operations of the Ghana Gas Company had negatively impacted on their living conditions putting them at a disadvantaged position.

At Abuesi, a fishing community in the Shama District in the Western Region, fishermen also complained that they currently experience low catch of fish because most of the fishes find an abode near the oil rig because of the light and they equally cannot fish in that area.

In Aboadze, which is also a fishing community and where the Takoradi Thermal Plant is situated also face the similar situation. The fishermen complain about catching small fish or sometimes they do not catch fish at all due to the laying of gas pipelines into the sea, and the rig being used for oil exploration attracting the fishes because of the light it illuminates.

This situation has indeed increased the living burden of these people in the coastal areas and in communities where the production of oil is concentrated. Fishing activities, which is predominately their source of income to cater for their family has not been effective as it used to be in the past years especially during the raining season.

Most of their children have stopped schooling and the young ones could not continue to the other level of education basically due to the inability to provide minor materials to enhance their education.

However, organizations and stakeholders involved must protect the means (that is fishing) upon which these people living in the coastal areas use to make money for their family; hence supporting them in diverse ways.

In addition, non-governmental organizations and other energy think-tank institutions must develop structures that can help provide help or assistant to affected fishermen in these communities. Compensation in different forms or ways must be given to such people and their families to help alleviate their hardship in the community.

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."

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