The Member of Parliament for Takoradi, Mr. Kobby Darko Mensah, has asked the government to make the Western Regional oil enclave the hub of the country’s fledging oil and gas industry.
According to him the over concentration of most oil and gas-related businesses in the national capital, Accra, was denying indigenes of the region the real economic impact of the production of oi and gas.
Mr. Mensah was speaking with the Daily Graphic on the sidelines of the Campaign launch of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) at Mantse Agbona in Accra.
He said people in his constituency were gradually growing impatient because they had to endure the adverse impact of being an oil-producing area and yet were denied the few opportunities that the industry creates.
“In Takoradi today, young people apply for jobs in any oil-related firm and they are told that their applications have been sent to Accra for approval.Some of them have to wait till forever even in the unlikely case that their application are responded to. The indigenes are worse off now because the industry itself does not exist In Takoradi, where the oil is coming from but in Accra, where the system is already choked” he said.
He said Ghana had to learn from best practices in other oil producing countries like Norway ,where oil and gas industries have been moved from the major national capitals to the original source of the product as a way to plough back some of the revenues into the lives of the people who experience the side effects most.
Mr. Mensah said the deterioration in infrastructure in the region was “unbearable”.
“There is intense pressure on our roads now because of the increase in traffic situation of the city. There has not been any deliberate effort to bring infrastructural base at par with the increasing number of people in the region. We may not be able to endure it for long” he warned.
Mr. Mensah is vying for re-election in this year’s election.
According to him, he had played his part which was to advocate an improvement in the lives of the indigenes in Takoradi.
“Over the last three years that I have been in Parliament, we’ve worked together to ensure that a lot of policy initiatives and laws are pushed as my duty as a Member of Parliament. On the roads issue that has sparked some demonstrations in Takoradi recently, I have successfully advocated the release of funds and the entire procurement process is done. Work is supposed to start but I don’t know why the projects are delaying”, he said.
He said the buoyant petrochemical industry promised by his party’s presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo in the region would boost the local economy and cause the locals to make the most of the region’s oil find.
“As a party, we are also promising a free SHS policy which would ensure that every young person has the opportunity to develop his individual talent and to contribute positively to national growth” he said.
He revealed that the campaign for his re-election bid was going to Take a grass-root strategy t o ensure that he listens to voters on issues that matter to them.
“I am optimistic that we have worked well based on the promises I made to the people of Takoradi, and I have no doubt that my tenure would be renewed” he concluded.