The chairman of the Council of State, Professor Kofi Awoonor, has charged players in the oil and gas industry not to forget the people who live in the area where the resources are taken from.
He cautioned them not to be greedy and let history repeat itself by threading the same path that most oil countries have walked where the indigenes had to take up arms and fight injustices being meted out to them at their own backyard.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of a two-day conference on oil and gas conference for the transportation sector, Prof. Awoonor said players in the industry must keep their ears to the ground, listen, hear and observe the reactions of the people.
The conference was on the theme: Positioning the transport sector for the successful exploitation of Ghana’s oil and gas.
Mike Hammah, Minister of Transport, said the discovery of commercial quantities of oil and gas in the country had immense potential for revenue generation, job creation and fosters backward and forward linkages within the local economy.
However, he said, the expected oil revenue would support government’s developmental efforts and might tamper the impact of volatility of crude oil prices on the local economy.
Mr. Hammah said there was no difference between the development of oil and gas and the transport sector, contending that in the oil and gas industry almost all the major modes of transportation such as maritime, rail, road, aviation and pipeline are viable alternative and complement each other.”
Mr. Hammah explained that it was necessary for the transport sector to understand the full context of Ghana’s oil and gas industry to play a comprehensive and integrated role in meeting the needs of users and ensuring successful exploitation of the oil and gas reserves for the socio-economic development of the country.”
Mr.Joe Gidisu, Minister of Roads and Highways, said “the achievements Ghana seeks of an integrated and cost effective transport network that benefits users, investors and the people of Ghana cannot be realised unless the country makes planning and patronisation core to their purpose.
To this end, he said his ministry and all the road sub-sector agencies were collaborating on an integrated approach to transport planning.
“If new roads, or other transport infrastructure, needed to serve the oil and gas sector then these roads should be in now and we should be in our plans now and we should already be seeking financing to ensure completion in the required timescale,”he said.
Vice-Preident John Dramani Mahama, who was the guest speaker at the ceremony said, government was committed to an integrated and modality complementary transport system that is capable of serving all sectors of the economy including the oil and gas industry.
In a speech read for him, Vice President Mahama, said government would create an enabling environment by upgrading and developing infrastructure such as railway, ports and roads to enable the country to maximise the potentials of the industry.
He, however, warned that the discovery of oil and gas resources would turn out to be a blessing or curse to the nation depending on the collective responsibility and the will of the people.