Mr Kwesi Bonzoh, the District Chief Executive of the Ellembelle District in the Western Region has stressed the need to involve the people of Nzemaland in the oil and Gas sector.
This, he noted would help solve the basic needs issues of the people, adding “we cannot continue to wallow in poverty with the discovery of oil and gas in commercial quantities.
“The Nzemaland cannot be left impoverished… how can we find oil in our land and still stay poor, our citizens are equally capable of participating, all we need is the opportunity,” he added.
Mr Bonzoh was speaking with Journalists on the sidelines of a public hearing organized by the Ellembelle District Assembly on its 2017/2018 Medium Term Development Plan at Aiyinase to solicit as well as validate the plan of development.
The DCE said the state of affairs particularly in the District and the Nzemaland in general was not pleasant in terms of job opportunities and local involvement in the oil and gas sector, adding, “We are taking things and signals for granted at our own peril”.
Mr Bonzoh said the oil and Gas found in the area was natural resources given by God, “the people are not happy to see some foreigners take the wealth of the land away with no significant impact on their lives”.
The DCE said it was time major players in the industry thought of some concrete socio-economic impact activities and look beyond usual corporate social responsibility which did not last forever…we need to mobilize ourselves and employ the powers that be to intervene.
He said under the medium term development plan, the Assembly had plans to construct a new sports complex, improve road network, build markets and hospitals in the ensuing years.
Mr Bonzoh said the District was currently focusing on two main projects: the establishment of petrochemical industry and cassava processing plant as key policy interventions to halting poverty and its accompanied social vices from the area.
Already, the Assembly according to him, had received proposals for the construction of the cassava processing plant, which would produce ethanol and industrial starch on commercial quantities.
He said the district through the assistance of Tullow Ghana Limited had been introduced to cassava cultivation on commercial scale and presently was the largest producer of cassava but with inadequate market and thereby making the sweat of farmers wasted.
“The coming into being of the factory under the one district, one factory project, is therefore a landmark for farmers to receive something substantial from their sweat and improve their living conditions”, he added.
According to the DCE, another relief to the inhabitants of the area would be the setting up of a petrol chemical industry to convert excess gas into ethane for the production of plastics and other poly products.
He said this sector has the capacity to employ more than 100 people directly and create some indirect jobs as well improve the standard of living in the area.
Mr. Bonzoh mentioned that the Assembly through its engagement with the Free Zones Board was making available 500 acre of land for industrial sprout in the District to ginger more economic growth, empowerment and social independence.
“We are ready to work at solving the numerous economic challenges facing us as a District and that is why the free SHS policy had come as a great relief.
“Now, more and more of our school children can continue after basic education which for some time had been last stop of education pursuit for the people in this area,” he added.
Mr Bonzoh said the investment in education by the NPP government at the Senior High Level has restored hope to rural communities across the country particularly the District, adding, “We have spent lots on students applications for assistance over the years through the common fund” and called on the citizenry to support the government with good heart and mind and positive attitude to realize its vision.
The Assembly according to him, was putting in place a scholarship scheme dubbed the “Kwame Nkrumah Education fund” with financers coming from the oil companies to educate more and more indigenes to take up roles in the petroleum industry.