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Oil Discovery Causing Sectorial Labour Imbalances

nigA mining advocate has observed that due to the discovery of minerals such as oil & gas in some African countries, professionals are moving from other sectors to the extractive industry.

Amani Mustafa Mhinda, Founder and Executive Director of HakiMadini, a Tanzanian advocacy organization, mentioned that some professionals had abandoned their work to pursue courses in oil and gas.

He explained that the development was causing imbalances in other sectors such as education, health and legal, among others.

According to Mr Mhinda, the shift from other sectors to the extractive industry is bound to cause a concentration of labour in that area at the expense of others.

Speaking at an 11-day oil and gas training workshop for 30 journalists from Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, which is aimed at introducing them to critical issues on exploitation, management and utilization of resources of the industry, he said, “People are leaving their jobs to take oil and gas courses. The unfortunate aspect is that in most they find out to their surprise later that there are no jobs.”

The training programme is being organized by Revenue Watch Institute, in collaboration with Thomson Reuters Foundation, Penplusbytes  and the African Center For Media Excellence.

According to Mr Mhandi, usually countries tend to focus investment on the extractive industry to the detriment of other key sectors.

He mentioned that this leads to a phenomenon commonly known as the ‘Dutch Disease.’

The journalists were drawn from countries with emerging extractive industry.

It is intended to also help them update their knowledge and skills to start public debates on how best to utilize proceeds from the exploitation of minerals to promote the interest of the citizens.

Mr Mhinda, who is also a member of the Tanzania’s Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative Multi Stake Group, which guides the revenue transparency and accountability process in the countries, urged governments to adopt the right policies in order to avoid the resource curse.

He stated that it was important for government to put the appropriate measures in place.

After citing Norway and Brazil, which have put in place the right policies to maximize benefits in the extractive industry, the mining advocate, who is a lawyer and political scientist, pointed out mineral resources are finite.

“It has a lifespan and after sometime it would run out, it is important to get the guiding principles right. The focus must be on long-term development of the country.”

Natural resources, he noted, serve as a catalyst for growth and that effective management would lead to the development of social infrastructure such as transport and energy, among others.

“When oil, gas or mineral is discovered in a country life of the citizens is not going to change right away. But that cannot be possible unless the right thing is done.”

Source: Daily Guide

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Reporting Oil and Gas project was launched on 4th June 2009atTakoradi, Western Region, Ghana by Penplusbytes (PPB – www.penplusbytes.org) with the vision of providing a one stop online information and knowledge about Ghana’s oil and gas sector
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