Chief Executive of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) Moses Asaga, says government has failed to manage public expectations from the oil sector, right from discovery to the start of exploration activities; and that accounts for over-reliance on the sector as the key to solve the country’s economic woes.
He said government must work to moderate public perceptions and expectations of the sector as regards its contribution to development and growth of the economy, since the industry is in its early days.
“The issue of how we can use revenue from the oil sector to support national economic growth depends largely on production capacity. Currently, Ghana is not among the top-ten biggest oil producing countries in Africa.
“Countries like Libya and Nigeria produce 1.7 million and 2.2 million barrels of oil respectively per day; we produce between 80,000 and 120,000 barrels of oil per day and we psych the minds of the people that the oil industry alone will solve the problems of the country?
“I think we failed to manage those huge expectations,” he said at forum in Accra to discuss and dissect how revenue from the oil sector has been managed after four years of oil production in the country.
Mr. Asaga’s comments sided with that of other forum speakers and discussants who tasked government to help manage those huge public expectations.
Among them was Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam, Executive Director of the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), who also feels that government has failed to deal with the oil resource differently from the way it handled the exploration of solid minerals over the years.
He said if government wants to rake in the needed revenue to make the sector a key economic trigger, then the reverse should be the case.
“I had varied expectations when oil was discovered in the country; one was that government could ensure the oil experience was going to be different from the way it handled the exploration of solid minerals.
“We failed to get the needed economic impact from years of dealing in solid minerals because we had no framework for managing mineral wealth, making us more or less revenue collectors.
“If the sector can become an economic trigger, then we have to deal with the oil wealth differently from how we are handling the solid minerals,” he said.
The Executive Director of the Kumasi Institute of Technology, Energy and Environment (KITE), Ishmael Adjekumhene, said he is disappointed that revenue accrued from the sector has not created any significant impact on the economy.
“It is true that expectations were high and we failed to manage them; however, I’m disappointed because the little that has come out has not impacted significantly on the economy,” he said.