General News of Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Source: myjoyonline

Oil Minister must be from Western Region - Chiefs

Some chiefs in the Western Region are asking President John Mahama to appoint one of their own as Minister of the yet to be created Ministry of Gas and Oil Resources.

The chiefs claim they can only trust a son of the Western Region to manage the oil resources to benefit the indigenes.

One of the chiefs, Awulae Agyamfi Kwame, Omanhene of the Nsien Traditional Area, told Joy News’ Eric Ahianyo they are tired of the many failed promises of politicians.

He cited a promise allegedly made by then Vice President John Mahama to cede ten per cent of the oil revenue exclusively to the development of the Western Region, a promise he said generated so much controversy and broken eventually.

He said when the chiefs followed up on this promise, some politicians under the guise of contributing to the matter on the floor of Parliament insulted the chiefs.

Awulae Agyamfi Kwame recognised that the president has the prerogative to choose ministers but he was quick to add that the president must be mindful of regional balance.

He said oil and gas are produced in the Western Region and “we want our son” to be appointed as minister.

Already, the chiefs have a nominee and they are praying that the president will elevate former deputy Energy minister, Emmanuel Kofi Boah and make him a substantive Minister of Oil and Gas.

The chiefs are however yet to send a formal petition to the president.

But some stakeholders believe the demands by the chiefs are problematic.

Energy Economist, Mohammed Amin Adam told Joy News’ Samson Lardy Ayenini the chiefs have a right to lobby but said they must be circumspect.

He said to lobby for the son of the region to be minister will set a bad precedent for the country.

He dreaded the possibility of other regions with other natural resources also demanding that their sons be appointed as minister.

Even though he sympathized with the poverty situation in parts of the Western Region, he said it will not necessarily take a son of the region as minister to solve their problems.

He said it was not the son of the Region that found the oil, neither was it the son of the region that decided that a heavy chunk of the 3 million dollar Chinese loan be used for the development of economic activities in the Western Region.

He said the prerogative as to who heads the Gas and Oil Ministry rests only with the president.