A study conducted by the Friedrich Ebert-Stiftung Foundation to assess the effects of oil production in Ghana has recorded an increase in the cost of livelihood over the last three years.
Results of the survey revealed that since the start of oil production in 2009, there has been a rapid increase in costs of living in most parts of Ghana, however, slower in the North than the rest of the country.
Out of the 3000 respondents sampled in all 10 regions of the country, 79.6 percent who answered questions on “Changes in cost of Living” believe that the cost of living has soared in the last few years. Only 14.7 percent of the respondents stated that the living costs did not change, while 5.7 percent believe that the costs even decreased.
The answers according to the regions vary compared to the national average result, the report said.
“The results from the regions with the highest population in Ghana (Greater Accra 80.6 %, Ashanti Region 83.2 %) are above the nationwide average.” This can be explained by the economic importance of these regions, the study further analyzed.
Furthermore, “the living costs in the Northern Regions have increased as well, but compared to the rest of Ghana it is evident that the results from Upper East (67.8 %) and Upper West (71.4 %) are below the national average.”
This, the report said, could be an indicator that despite the increasing cost of living in some regions, they are increasing slower in the North than in the rest of the country.
For respondents with families, the report also noted that “an overwhelmingly 87.9 percent of respondents who have no children are complaining about higher costs of living. They even surpassed those with children.” The hypothesis was that the percentages of the respondents would increase proportionally to the increasing number of children.
Also, 82.5 percent of the respondents working in the public sector stated that the cost of living has increased.
The study titled, “Oil Production and its Impact on the Livelihood of Communities in Ghana” was conducted by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (Ghana Office), a political foundation that seeks to promote security, social democracy and economic development in connection with You-net.
Other results of the study are as follows: Prices have been increased drastically for areas with major economic activities, e.g. Greater Accra Region, Western Region and Ashanti Region. 79.6% of the respondents nationwide stated that their living costs increased.
All prices for the groceries, which have been stated in the survey, at least doubled over a period of four years. The average income level increased nationwide by only 67%. Having electricity at home seems to be unproblematic, but power cuts have been persistent.
Only 52.6% have tap water at home which is a disastrous result – combined with high water shortage all over the country.
Over 70% of the respondents are contributing to NHIS, but only 50% are contributing to some sort of a pension system. Predictions for the future include that Ghana could have a problem with old-age poverty or that the financial pressure is higher for families which are taking care of the elders.
Almost 60% of the respondents would move to the coastal areas to find a job. Interestingly, the older the respondents get (50 and above) the more willing they are to move to the South.
Accra, Takoradi and Tema are the most popular cities people would move to.
Asking for the improvement of roads, the majority of respondents in the Ashanti Region indicated that their roads got worse, while the roads in Eastern Region, Western Region and Upper East are unchanged. The roads in all other regions have been improved or greatly improved.
Electricity and water supply has worsened especially in the regions with most economic activities, namely Ashanti Region, Greater Accra and Western Region.
63.6% of the respondents nationwide stated the policies on oil and gas production did not influence their voting decision in the last election 2012.
Almost half of the respondents nationwide believe that the incomes and revenues from the oil production are not spent wisely by the government.
67.1% of all respondents are of the opinion that the politicians will not help the population to have a better life. 68.7 % of the respondents nationwide stated that the revenues from the oil and gas production are not shared and distributed equally among all Ghanaians.
51.6% of the respondents are expecting further price increments due to the oil production.
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