Sat, 25 May 2019 Feature Article

Dead Oil: A Letter To The President

Justice Offei Jr.Justice Offei Jr.

Dear Mr President,

Greetings and best wishes to your entire team and family.

Rhetorically, Where will Ghana be in the next Decade? Is it going to be the same future we seeing today ?

The first time I got to hear Ghana vision 2020 was in my high school days and thought we will never get to 2020. Lo and behold , we are just less than 7 months away from 2020. It is a shame we are still decades away from such vision if not more but yet still we on a new rhythm of vision dubbed Ghana Beyond Aid.

It took me days to put this letter together well , filtering away my emotions , anger and disappointment. This is a pure filtered letter bolded in the ink of my sweat and blood. Arguably, I always say everybody matters in the development of our economy but I think the young entrepreneurs out there matter most in the recovery of our economy crises.

Let me be more blunt and fair! Ghana has failed today's generation and every evidence is there to show.

We seem to have the most finest educated minds but yet still we are underdeveloped and with abysmal performance in reducing unemployment and economic inequality.

I had the opportunity to study petroleum engineering. At the time Ghana, had found no Commercial quantity of oil but we entered with such hope. After school, most of us struggled to get into the upstream sector. Nonetheless , some of us decided to follow our passion and transited into providing solutions to the problems in our socioeconomic environment; entrepreneurship. Let me pause for a minute and focus on the purpose of this letter.

Mr President, I write to you not because I want to blame you for our current predicament. Not at all.

I write to you as a symbolic gesture because you represent both the nation and all our Ex-Presidents.

I write to the entire nation when I write to you.

Its not so hard to do the simple things that can take us from the viscous cycle of poverty; creating more sustainable jobs, creating affordable housing unit , stopping corruption , reducing the size of government, yielding high productivity.

To me, the following are ways among many others that we can nip the flow of economic crises in Ghana.

1. EMPOWER ENTREPRENEURSHIP with Structured Pillars & Political Will

Undeniably and uncompromisingly, it is a fact that economic crises can only be recovered via job creation and this fact makes Entrepreneurship the ultimate Option in restoring economic development. Entrepreneurship is a tool for providing solutions to the problems of the country.

When entrepreneurs are empowered to grow and expand, more room for employment would be created, productivity will be high, and a low importation gap can be achieved.

In Rwanda, it takes less than 24 hours, on average, to set up a company. We can improve on ours and transfer all registration online to save time and money and to reduce the burdensome of registering for business certificate.

The enactment of a Startup Act with a provision of offering every entrepreneur a stipend, hiring credit, tax holidays with a venture capital system is a way to build the future.


So many staff members in government institutions doing approximately nothing. This is an observable truth. Most of these guys are old faces that often corrupt the workflow at our public institutions.

-Lay off aged staff with a promised pension incentives.

-Occupy those spaces with proactive and intelligent but committed youth.

-Run 24Hr shift with 2-3 shift group of workers.

Let me reiterated the words of the Ukraine's new President

"I really do not want my pictures in your offices, for the President is not an icon or an idol.

Hang your children's photos instead, and look at them each time you are making a decision."

The size of appointed ministers can be as low as 50. There are evidence to show that countries with fewer ministers deliver and even more better.

Ghana often borrow to finance our annual public wage bills simply because of the ballooning staff size of our public institutions.

At the end , they can't even show any incremental change in efficiency & productivity.


I'm disquiet when it comes to the real developmental impact from our oil proceeds.

I would not be wrong to say that about 70-80% of our proceeds goes into furnishing our National Budget with more than 40% going into Wage Bills.

Well, its arguable to say that at least we are benefiting from the oil proceeds but my biggest problem is why a country as small as Ghana can't make good use of their natural resource's proceeds with respect to creating better basic amenities.

'Dead Oil' country connote an oil producing country where for the past almost decade have so many cities & villages in need of of proper health centers, Good schools, proper roads , potable & clean drinking water.

There are so many questions to be answered when it comes to how our oil money has been used by our leaders.

(A comprehensive publication on The DEAD OIL article will be out soon)


Why is China investing in Rwanda, a country with limited resource unlike Ghana?

And why is Ghana always trying to leverage on their resource as a collateral to borrow money or attract investment?

To that end, the government of Rwanda offers hefty tax incentives to attract more investment instead of collateralizing their Resource.

And this is how they do it;

Companies headquartered in Rwanda that invest at least $10 million are exempt from corporate income tax, while those that export at least 50% of their goods pay only 15% tax.

This kind of strategic incentives provoke better investment; opening up the economic for competitive and efficient production of goods and services.


Its just a waste of productive time if we always fight corruption after it has happened.

Prevention of corruption starts from building a stronger institution that choke the flow of the processes that lead to corruption.


Justice Offei Jr.

Entrepreneur I Petroleum Engineer I Speaker I Startup Mentor

[email protected] +233245719992