Ghana’s political authorities have been accused of being the brains behind the uncontrolled destruction of the country’s forest reserves and other natural resources, as they manipulate the system to suit their selfish interests.
In an interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of a 3-day media training on natural resources sector policy and regulatory framework workshop, Clement Kojo Akapame, senior associate lawyer of Taylor Craabbe, said the fast rate of forest destruction in Ghana was attributable to political manipulations in the sector.
“In most situations, the institutional and technical structures work in the interest of the nation but political manipulation of the processes creates a vacuum for people to have their way to undertake illegal activities that destroy our forest reserves,” he said.
Akapame stressed that until the big political questions were addressed, Ghana’s forest and other natural resource bank would “continue losing its reservoir, regardless of the number of legal and legislatives reforms the West African nation undertakes”.
He said stakeholders, including the communities, where forests and other natural resources were harnessed, companies operating in such areas, government and the media, should fashion out strategic measures to save Ghana’s natural resources from complete destruction.
In his presentation on the political and economic factors that shape natural resources policies, Chairman of Ghana’s Public Accounts Committee (PIAC) Steve Manteaw said lapses in the country’s regulatory framework and political wickedness were the causes of the insignificant impact on the country’s rich natural resources on social and economic development.
He cited how government officials created what he termed “sweat equity” scenario, where political officials gave percentages to people who led investors into the oil and gas sector.
All these, he noted, were in the name of corruption clothed with unsuspecting terminologies which were not in Ghana’s laws.
Manteaw said Ghana’s legislature and the executive should stop being selfish and rigidly adhere to the right governance principles to enable the country’s natural resources to reflect on social lives, economic standards and infrastructural developments in communities.
He called on civil society groups fighting for the protection of Ghana’s natural resources, communities blessed with these resources and the media to expose wicked officials bent on undertaking activities to dissipate these resources.
Ghana is endowed with natural resources, with roughly twice the per capita output of the poorer countries in the sub-region.
Even so, she remains heavily dependent on financial and technical assistance from the World Bank, IMF and other donor countries.
Gold, timber and cocoa production are the country’s sources of foreign exchange. Entitem