“When we discover these minerals, what we should do is keep quiet about it and just manage expectations,” said the Director of Extractive Resource Services of ACET, Sheila Khama.
Addressing a forum organized by ACET on the theme, ‘Sustainable Resource Series: Good Governance in the Extractive Industry,’ Ms Khama explained saying, “We put headlines, ‘Ghana is pumping oil’ and every child, woman and man in Ghana assumes that they are going to personally profit except you and I know it’s not going to happen like that.”
“The time lag between when we discover, when we pump and when you and I feel the benefit is often so huge” that when the processes are not adequately explained to the people, could breed agitations.
She also cautioned politicians not to hype the production levels and inflow of income from the extractive industry for the sake of political expediency as it only goes to heighten public expectation.
“The reason we make a lot of noise; sometimes it’s because of political expediency, sometimes the industry itself want to pump their stock in the stock market…but the unfortunate thing is that the average person on the street, civil society groups expect more because we make so much noise around these issues.”
Ms Khama continued saying, “in the end, there is a fall out because then we wait one year, two years, nothing happens and in the end we will say they cheated us again.”
But the Member of Parliament (MP) for Walewale in the Northern Region, Dr. Saagre Bambangi disagreed.
He said: “I don’t think politicians announce it when they discover these resources just because of political expediency. Sometimes it is for these very reasons of accountability that they announce.”
The MP pointed out that the discovery of such resources cannot be kept away from the public because, “it involves a lot of cost and implications so hiding it from your citizenry is also another problem. It is questionable if you decide to hide it from them…and even in the search for the resources, you interact with the community and then you discover it and you hide it from them? It is so unfair.”
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