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Business News of Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Source: GNA

Oil debate should not be for immediate gratification

Accra, Feb. 26, GNA - Mr. Tony Oteng-Gyasi, President of Association of Ghana Industries, on Tuesday expressed worry about the trend of the oil debate and said the focus should be on planning ahead instead of focusing on immediate gratification.

"Everyone is concerned about how we are going to share the revenues, but how about the opportunities for businesses and employment generations?

"Two hundred years to come Ghana will still remain a country, and if by that time the oil is no more what happens next?" he asked. Speaking at the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) Project launch on media advocacy to promote small-scale businesses, Mr. Oteng-Gyasi said Nigeria and other oil producing countries were examples for us to learn from.

He said we should ask ourselves to what extent oil in these countries had impacted on their economies and how it was managed. Mr. Oteng-Gyasi said the chief in Western Region who knows the oil was discovered off his shore was only interested in his portion of the oil money, but it would take journalists to explain the issues as they should be to the ordinary person.

"We need a cultural change in our attitude to business in this country," he said, adding that, it was about time journalists mainstreamed economic and business issues just as they do about politics.

He said the success of the media in making concepts of democratic governance and human rights appreciated by large portions of society must be replicated in economic and business advocacy.

"You as media professionals are the ones who can make stories of budget and budget deficits, of money supply and exchange rates come alive for the average man to read and understand.

"The way you tackle stories, the angles you use can make the driest business story entertaining for the average reader."

The GJA would spearhead the project to empower both media personnel and SMEs through resources from a fund known as the BUSAC Fund with sponsorship from DANIDA, DFID and USAID.

The project is the second to be embarked upon by the Association since its inception in 2006 under the theme: "Using the Media to Promote Small Scale Business Concerns with BUSAC Support."