2008 Flag bearer of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, has expressed his unflinching support for the chiefs and people of the Western Region on their call for a share in the yet to be drilled oil in the Jubilee Field.
The chiefs are demanding the establishment of a Western Region Development Fund into which 10% of the petroleum revenue should be paid to develop the region. They also recommend that at least One-Third of the Oil and Gas Commission to be established should be made up of indigenes of the Western Region.
Led by the President of the Western Regional House of Chiefs, Awulae Attibrukusu III, the Chiefs made these requests and several other proposals on Wednesday November 17, in a petition sent to Parliament in a bid to make inputs into the Petroleum Production and Petroleum Revenue Management Bills which are currently before the House awaiting approval.
Speaking to CitiFM Eyewitness News, Dr. Nduom who expressly backed the Chiefs, said the people of Western region unequivocally deserve some equity and social justice.
“I am 100 percent solidly behind the chiefs in the Western region…I have heard all sorts of people commenting, quoting international law and spoken theories on the demand by the chiefs from the Western region; but the practicality of the matter is that human beings wherever they come from in this country, deserves equity and social justice,” he stressed.
According to Dr. Nduom, countries and cities that have discovered revenue generating resources like Gold and Oil have developed tremendously and the Western region cannot be left out.
“Go and see what has happened to other parts of the world like Johannesburg, Gold City among others; they are very well developed and we cannot let this pass and not concentrate some appreciable development in the Western region,” he added.
He called on government to demonstrate its preparedness to further develop the Western region.
“Some of us have been advocating that we should re-plan and re-develop the communities in the Western region. Get some people from KNUST and redevelop them totally, build modern cities, show them a signal or a sign of something big and wonderful that will happen to them…So far, nothing have been seen or heard. So if they are demanding something let us take them very seriously and let government stand up today and say specifically not just by words but by actions what they are going to do so they can calm some fears and assure them of doing something concrete,” he added.
In a related development, the Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Hon James Klutse Avedzi, says it would be suicidal for Parliament to give in to the demands of the Western Regional House of Chiefs that 10 percent of the nation’s annual oil revenue be dedicated to developing the region.
He made the comments after the release of the details of a 23-page report in which the Joint Committee on Finance, Mines and Energy said it could not meet the demands of the chiefs and people of the Western Region.
The committee was of the view that the demand will defeat the primary purpose of the petroleum revenue.
The committee also rejected the demands by the chiefs for their representatives to be part of committees or institutions directly related to the oil revenue.
On the contrary, the committee says government will pursue a deliberate development agenda of the Western Region. The committee also resolved to incorporate some of the demands by the chiefs in the Petroleum Revenue Management Bill currently before Parliament.