A public lecture on Managing National Resource Wealth for Inclusive Development have set some participants to bemoan the growing failure on the part some Ghanaian leaders to usher the country into real time of socio-economic advancement.
Some attributed the failure to advance the developmental course of the country to lack of patriotism for the country, indiscipline and the lack of inclusiveness in governance as the actual bane and called for a disciplined leadership to move the country forward.
Reverend Ernest Kwofie, the Western Regional Chairman of the National Peace Council said “Your education as leaders is to help better the lots of the unlettered members of society, why are you nose diving our country”.
He urged the various leadership to stop playing politics with every segment and facet of the country’s development adding, ” This is the time to stop deceiving the ‘blind’ many in society and become more and more responsible as leaders”.
Reverend Kwofie was speaking at the lecture organised by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) and the STAR Ghana Foundation to mark 25 years of constitutional democracy and how the country’s natural resources spanning from gold, diamond, bauxite, cocoa, timber and latest oil and gas had been used to the benefit of the generality of the people.
Nana Kofi Abuna V, Chief of Essipon expressed concern about the way and manner lands were being released to investors to mine without recourse to the traditional authorities.
He called for a review of the 14 days notice post at the Assemblies’ notice board to notify land owners about impending projects in their communities, asking, “why do you post a notice at the assembly, how about if the chief or no community member visits the assembly within that fourteen days notice period”.
Mr. Nii Kpane, of the Sekondi/Takoradi Chamber of Commerce and Industry urged the Public Interest and Accountability Committee to help ensure judicious use of the minerals resource revenue of the country and also endeavour to follow up on wrongs identified, to ensure that they were corrected.
” I believe you can report these misappropriations to EOCO or the Special Prosecutor for action since you may not have prosecutorial powers “.
Mr. Michael Quashigah of the inland Canoe Fishermen Association said systemic failure due to indiscipline was the greatest bane to the misuse of the country’s resources.
Mr. Kwaku Arthur from the Disability Association called for a radical movement to put leaders on their toes.
For his part, Professor Gyimah Boadi Board Member of STAR-Ghana said it had become more imperative to avoid the resources curse syndrome in Ghana, whilst ensuring that the generality of the people reaped maximum benefit of the numerous resources bequeathed by nature to the country.
Dr. Steve Asare Manteaw, a Development Specialist and the Chairperson of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) who delivered a lecture on “Managing Natural Resource Wealth for Inclusive Development-The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” said Ghana ought not to make mistakes in the management of natural resources particularly within the nascent oil and gas sector since there was lots of examples from neighbouring Nigeria to learn from.
” Perhaps, God was so wise to allow Nigeria to have the oil resource first and make all the mistakes to enable Ghana to learn from….I always say God is a Ghanaian, in spite of our recklessness, he still blessed us with oil in 2007″, he added.
Dr. Manteaw was disappointed that after mining gold and others naturals resources for decades, the country eventually joined the Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC).
He pointed out that Ghana needed a strong governance framework with regards to all the natural resources particularly oil and gas to help the country derive more from agreements signed with investors.
He said good governance, equity in distribution and community participation were key in improving the sector.