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General News of Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Source: GNA

Oil exploration should not deprive people of their livelihood

Accra, Feb. 26, GNA - Mrs Mary Chinery-Hesse, Chairperson of Ministerial Steering Committee on Oil and Gas on Tuesday called on Parliament to serve as a watchdog to stakeholders in the oil industry in order not to deprive Ghanaians of their livelihood.

She said the Committee would collaborate with Ministry of Fisheries to ensure conflicts between oil exploration and fishing activities did not occur and also minimize effect of their activities on the people. Addressing the closing session of the first part of the National Forum on Oil and Gas Development, Mrs Chinery-Hesse said the best way Ghana could benefit from the oil industry was to ensure that Parliament considered what was uniquely Ghanaian and the best for Ghana.

The two-day National Oil and Gas Forum was organized to enable Ghana benefit from lessons learned by other countries and international experts in the oil and gas sector following Ghana's recent discovery of oil in the West Cape Three Point Block. The next three days, which would cover the second part of the forum, would involve a closed door meeting for public sector institutions that need capacity building to be able to manage the resource.

Mrs Chinery-Hesse who is also Chief Advisor to the President said: "The most important lesson we must learn is that oil and gas are assets that would diminish with exploitation, therefore, we must be wise about policies instituted in order not to derail the economy for current and future generations."

She said Ghanaians must acquire the requisite knowledge to be in charge of the sector, as a result a data-base would be established to tap the knowledge of Ghanaian experts outside the country for the full utilisation of the industry.

Mrs Chinery-Hesse said a system of continuous interaction would be established to communicate with stakeholders to ensure transparency and avoid social difficulties.

She said the policy to guard the sector should be a win-win policy taking into account the interests of investors, development partners and international institutions to ensure continuous best practice. Nana Dr S.K.B. Asante, Chairman of Ghana Arbitration Centre, expressed appreciation to the participants and experts from Norway, Nigeria and Canada for sharing their experiences with stakeholders in the oil industry.

He said efforts would be made to reconcile all interests for sanity to prevail in the sector. 26 Feb. 08

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