By: Kwaku Owusu Peprah
Chiefs in the Western Region say they are disappointed that the various political parties have ignored their call for government to dedicate a certain percentage of oil revenues for the development of the Region.
Acting President of the Western Region House of Chiefs, Nana Kwasi Agyemang IX who spoke with Joy News on the side of a policy debate on oil and gas organised by the Natural Resources Governance Institute said the chiefs will not relent on their demand for the special quota of oil and gas revenues.
President Mahama during the 2008 election campaigns promised that if the NDC won the elections, government would allocate 10 percent of oil revenues to the Western Region.
But when the chiefs made the demands after the elections, government explained that the administration would invest a lot more in the Region than the percentage that the chiefs were asking for.
Many have thought that that discussion has been laid to rest, until Nana Agyemang IX who is also the Omanhene of Lower Dixcove traditional area to raised the issue again.
He said the impact of the oil industry on the six coastal districts of the Region has been so bad that he expects all the parties to make conscious policy commitments towards allocating 10 percent of oil revenues to the development of the Region.
“People misunderstood us when we asked for this in 2009 but the 10 percent is not meant for the chiefs as royalties or anything. It is to develop the region,” Nana Agyemang IX said.
He further explained that if other regions discovered oil in the country, government could do same for the residents since that is the only way to mitigate the negative effects of the oil and gas industry on the residents of the host communities.
He said this is a more sustainable way of investing the oil revenues to solve the housing deficits and the ensuing high rents that residents of the Sekondi Takoradi metropolis are reeling under.
Besides accommodation and rent issues, Nana Agyemang IX believes the fund would also support the rehabilitation of roads and improve the state of public facilities like hospitals which come under undue pressure as more people move into the areas to work or seek opportunities in the oil and gas sector.