THE long-standing agitation by some chiefs and people of the Western Region for the allocation of 10 percent of oil revenue has received a renewed sense of hope with the newly-appointed minister for the region himself a firm believer of that proposition.
According to the Western Regional Minister, Dr Kwaku Afriyie, considering the size and population of the region, advocating for about fifteen percent of the total oil revenue would have been more appropriate demand to make.
“Their (chiefs) calculation is a bit conservative in the sense that if you say 10 percent, then it means 90 percent for the rest of the country and western region is 10 percent of Ghana, the population of the western too is 10 percent, the land surface is also 10 percent. So, in essence, the chiefs were calling for the same amount to be distributed nationwide. So if they had said something like 15 percent that would have been better”, he said when The Finder asked of his take on the matter.
In the absence of this allocation, however, the Minister emphasised that the Western Region is well endowed such that with the rights investment, the region can unleash a lot of revenue for her development and the country as whole country.
The minister made these observations moments after he was sworn in together with nine others as regional ministers by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the Flagstaff House on Friday.
The chiefs of the Western Region, at the onset of commercial oil production in the Jubilee Fields, have been advocating for 10 percent of the total oil revenue for the development of the region.
The chiefs have argued that, even though the region is endowed with most of the country’s natural resources, it continued to be one of the poorest with a very high unemployment rate compared to other regions in the country.
In 2010, the chiefs petitioned parliament to legislate the 10 percent oil fund for the region to be paid into a Western Region Development Fund to be established under the Petroleum Revenue Management Bill.
Additionally, they demanded for the establishments of a special fund to cater for any disaster that may arise as a result of oil exploration activities in the region.
They also wanted a representation of indigenes of the region on all institutions and bodies established by the Petroleum Revenue Management Bill, among many other demands.
The Joint Parliamentary Select Committee on Finance and Energy, however, rejected the proposals made by the chiefs arguing that granting the demand would defeat the primary purpose of setting up the Petroleum Management Bill.
They argued that oil revenue will not be used in funding any statutory funds as being requested by the chiefs.
The new minister, however, promised to work in the interest of the region by bringing the needed development to the region.
The Western Region is one of four regions that has been earmarked to be split into two by the new administration.
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