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Opinions of Thursday, 13 February 2014

Columnist: Kofi Thompson

MPs who love Ghana must read Solomon Kwawukume's Book :"Ghana's Oil: Towards Maximum Benefits"

By: Kofi Thompson

In 1965 a book entitled, "Neocolonialism, The Last Stage of Imperialism", was published by Ghana's president at the time, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. So alarmed were the Western powers by its contents that they resolved to remove President Nkrumah from power.

Their fear was that the book's contents would undermine their interests in Africa. They therefore had to make sure that the pan-Africanist politician who authored it did not remain in power, to spread its race-uplifting and liberating message across the continent - and implement policies based on it in his native Ghana.

Solomon Kwawukume's book, "Ghana's Oil and Gas Discoveries: Towards Maximum Benefits", ought to be required reading for every patriotic Ghanaian - particularly the younger generation.

In a sense, it is just as influential in what it seeks to do, as Nkrumah's "Neocolonalism, The Last Stage of Imperialism" - open the eyes of its readers and enable them foil the greedy ambitions of those malevolent foreign interests that seek to exploit Ghana's oil and gas deposits, with very little benefit to its people.

It is amazing that 49 years after the publication of "Neocolonialism, The Last Stage of Imperialism", our ruling elites are still allowing our resources to be exploited for returns far less than they are actually worth, by foreign corporations - because it benefits them personally.

A bill has just come before Ghana's Parliament - the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Bill, 2013 - for passage into law. If passed into law as it stands, it will allow foreign oil companies to do to Mother Ghana what the foreign gold mining companies have done to her over the years: gang-rape her.

Each member of Parliament ought to read Mr. Solomon Kwawukume's "Ghana's Oil and Gas Discoveries: Towards Maximum Benefits" before agreeing to permit what will in effect amount to giving away a total of some US$160 billions in assets belonging to the people of Ghana, to foreign oil companies.

Yet, for this bonanza, those foreign oil companies are investing less than US$10 billions in production costs, to exploit those selfsame assets. Ghana's share of those US$160 billions is a paltry US$20 billions - and, now, thanks to that inequitous bill, we will also be stumping up our share of costs too: the financial equivalent of a time-bomb that will cripple our nation in the not too distant future, as sure as day follows night.

When the first Europeans came to our shores centuries ago in search of gold, our leaders at the time accepted worthless bric-a-brac in exchange for valuable gold. Members of Ghana's Parliament must not make the same mistake in 2014 - by sanctioning this wheeze to deny Ghanaians what is rightfully theirs.

The question our members of Parliament must ponder is: if Tullow Oil was happy to sign the kind of production agreement it did with the Canadian oil company Africa Oil to exploit its Kenyan concession, why would it balk at signing a similar one with Ghana? Food for thought for our ruling elites - who seldom do any thinking when it comes to protecting the national interest: what benefits the majority of Ghanaians at any given point in time.

In considering the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Bill, 2013, members of Ghana's Parliament ought to remember that posterity will never forgive them for selling Ghana short at a time of extreme national need with their eyes fully open. A word to the wise...