Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in oil-rich regions have been urged to adopt innovative ways to derive maximum benefits from the oil and gas industry.
That would awaken duty bearers to transform oil operations into bigger businesses to meet the huge demands for supplies of goods and services from key players of the oil and gas sector.
Dr Steve Manteaw, the Co-Chair of the Ghana Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (GHEITI), said MMDAs had not done enough to derive full benefits of the oil funds but they could improve their resources by encouraging business operators within their jurisdictions to form cooperatives to aid their growth.
Speaking to the GNA in an interview, he said business entities in districts often lacked the capacity to produce in large quantities to meet local demands, which gave no choice to industry players but to outsource goods from other districts.
That, he noted, deprived the assemblies of generating enough revenue for developmental projects and small businesses the opportunity to grow and create jobs to resolve the unemployment situation.
“The mid-term developmental plans of the assemblies have been the same over the years without innovation and without factoring in the oil fund and benefits they can derive from it,” Dr Manteaw said.
He lamented the staffing of the assemblies, with some of the people being recruited lacking certain competencies that could be tapped into to improve on their developmental agenda and businesses.
“We should not blame others for our inactivity and lack of foresight if we do not get maximum benefits from the oil find as a region, but instead blame our local managers who fail to take advantage of the presence of oil companies to improve their people’s lives despite all the opportunities they present,” he said.
Dr Manteaw said though the Western Region stood to benefit under Section 24 of the Oil Revenue Management Fund, the district assemblies must be able to demonstrate with science and data, the effects of the negative outcomes of the oil exploration to be able to receive the needed compensation.
“Research should be made on the socio-economic baseline of the districts to tell the Government that before the oil discovery, these were the status of the district and after the exploration and exploitations, this is what has been affected and thus, propose some respite to mitigate its effects,” he stated.