Mr Felix Kwakye Ofosu, Executive Director, Research and Advocacy Platform has cautioned Ghanaians not to put so much expectations on the oil production as the panacea for the total development of all aspects of the Ghanaian economy.
He said though the oil business, which was about the largest in the world had many opportunities, the youth should not put so much expectation on the benefit to be accrued since the oil that Ghana produced and revenue accrued yearly was about just like what Norway got daily from oil production.
Speaking on the topic “Leveraging Ghana’s oil Resources for National Development” at a youth conference on Oil and gas in Accra, Mr Ofosu suggested however that, the right investment with the oil revenue must be done while investment in education and agriculture as well as all other sectors of the economy explored.
He said some of the oil proceeds could be channeled into the GETFUND to help train people on oil and gas stressing that, measures must be put in place to train more Ghanaians locally to cut down on so much money sent abroad to train people on oil to enable more Ghanaians to be at the helm of affairs in the industry.
Mrs Sedina Tamakole-Attionu, Chief Executive Officer, National Youth Authority (NYA), said the conference was organized to educate students on the oil and gas industry and to let them know their prospects.
She noted that the NYA was financially constrained and called on stakeholders to endeavour to come to its aid especially with financial assistance to support its activities.
“The development of the youth rests on the society, media, corporate Ghana and funds must be made available for activities leading to their development”.
She called on parents to instill discipline in their wards and urged the youth not to allow themselves to be influenced to commit crimes.
Mr Percival Ampomah, Senior Investment Officer, Venture Capital Fund told the youth that the venture Capital had been set up by government to support entrepreneurs in the oil and gas industry.
Dr Robert Mensah, Board Member of NYA cautioned that care should be taken so as not to ignore agriculture production, particularly cocoa for oil production.
Dr Kwasi Botchwey, Board Chairman, Ghana National Gas Company, urged the youth to take advantage of such educative forums to equip themselves with knowledge on oil and gas to acquire experiences and lessons to enable them “get on board the industry”.
Dr Engineer Neeka Jacob, Head of Planning and Research, Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Lagos, Nigeria, who was a guest speaker, called on government not to abandon other sectors of the economy because of the oil and gas find.
“When Nigeria discovered oil in the 1958 in commercial quantity, we abandoned the agricultural sector and now we import million of dollars of food from outside”.
He urged government to ensure that enough people were trained for the oil and gas sector in order to increase the local content in the industry.
He said failure to do so, would lead to the continuous domination of expatriates and reduce the power of government in the sector.
Dr Jacob challenged government to review the educational curriculum to make room for the academic needs of the industry.
He entreated people interested in the sector to specialize in the areas of choice in order to make them competitive.
It is interesting to note that the whole of Nigeria has only 235 qualified rig welders and 113 under water welders”, he said.
Engineer Jacob said the mandate of PTDF, which was established in 1973, was to provide scholarship and bursaries to colleges and universities which offer petroleum courses.
“One of PTDF broad mandate is also to make Nigeria a human resource centre for the West African sub region”.