The Vice-President, Mr John Dramani Mahama, has reiterated his earlier position that 10 per cent of the Jubilee oil revenue should be allotted to the Western Region for development.
Addressing a cross-section of Ghanaians at a reception in his honour in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday, Mr Mahama said, "I have not changed my earlier position on allocating 10 per cent of the oil revenue for the development of the Western Region."
"The Western chiefs have a point; we need to create a development vehicle for the area as we have used cocoa as collateral for the Bui Dam project," he added.
He said considering the huge infrastructural development that would take place in the oil area as a result of the discovery, it was just plausible to suggest a percentage for developing the area.
Mr Mahama, however, cautioned against any arrangement that would leave funds for the development of the Western Region at the whims of some individuals or groups of people for their own parochial interest.
He said giving 10 per cent to the Western Region would mean each region would receive 10 per cent, saying, "Indeed, under the present circumstances, the Western Region deserves more than 10 per cent, since it is closest to the field."
He said the government would not want to repeat the mistakes and bad experiences of gold and bauxite mining areas where the people had virtually been neglected.
On the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), the Vice-President announced that the board of the authority would be inaugurated by the end of this year, to be followed by a donors’ conference.
"We want to create a new growth pole based on comparative advantage in the north. We want to stop the southward drift through the creation of a new growth pole. Oil and gas will also create another growth pole in the west," he stressed.
Commenting on the recent pilgrimage to Mecca by Ghanaian Muslims, Mr Mahama said the government would set up what he described as a "proper secretariat" to capture the data of Muslims who intended to embark on the Hajj next year.
"Next year we will make sure we have a smooth and hitch-free Hajj," he assured.
On education, he said the government had extended the scholarship base for science and technology students, while the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) had trained more than 200 students with petro-chemical bias.
He said in line with the government’s policy to boost science education, all science resource centres in the country would be rehabilitated and new ones established with new equipment.
Mr Mahama reiterated the government’s commitment to make agriculture the pillar of the country’s development agenda and announced that the government would rehabilitate all irrigation projects and also build new ones.
That aside, he said, new boreholes would be dug in all farming communities, adding that some had already been dug at Savelugu to support mango projects on a pilot basis.
The Foreign Affairs Minister, Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, who was also at the function, announced that no Ghanaian pilgrim was arrested this year in connection with any passport fraud because of the enhanced features of the biometric passports they carried.