Ghana’s economy soon is expected to receive a significant boost with Monday’s announcement of the discovery of a large oil deposit in the country. This comes after a US-based firm, which has been prospecting for oil, made the discovery in the Western part of the country. The yield is believed to be one of Africa’s biggest oil deposits in recent times. Many Ghanaians who have believed the country would be prosperous with discoveries of oil deposits have welcomed the announcement.
From the capital, Accra Minister for Information Kwamena Bartels tells Voice of America English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey that President Kufuor’s government will be making sure Ghana doesn’t encounter the same problems other African countries face when oil discoveries were made in their countries.
“We were informed by Energy Kosmos group, the oil company prospecting for oil at Cape Three Points in the western region of Ghana, that they have discovered oil, which they think is in significant quantities, as to be commercial. As of yesterday (Sunday) they believe they had reached 633 feet deep of oil. They have not reached the bottom of the pit yet. Now, they believe that by the time they reach the bottom of the pit, and check the size of the well, we should have oil in very commercial quantities,” he notes.
Bartels reiterated the significance of the oil discovery to the country’s economy.
“You know we’ve spent over two hundred million dollars a year on the importation of oil, and with the energy crisis now, it’s even gone up. We believe that it is going to make a significant impact on the economy of our country, and the quality of life of our people by the fact that too much of it of which we would have normally imported will no more be imported,” Bartels said.
He said President John Kufuor’s government has set up teams to ascertain problems other African countries have encountered with oil discoveries so Ghana would learn from their experience.
“We have to learn the lessons from these African countries. What did they do wrong? We are already are putting together bout six different teams to go three Africa countries and three others, which has oil and to find out from them, what did they do wrong and what did they do right, so that we don’t fall into the same pit. We need to learn the lessons that others learn bitterly,” he pointed out.
Bartels urged the country not to depend solely on oil revenues, which he said could be detrimental to the nation’s development when the oil wells dry up.
“If you take the emirates, they re developing their tourism industry, in the expectation that when the oil wells are dry, they would be in a position to have some income generating resource, which is tourism,” he noted.
He explains the contract signed between the government and the oil company.
“The agreement has already been signed for the exploration and for us to be in a position to not only get a 10% carried interest, but GNPC (Ghana National Petroleum Company), which is representing the republic of Ghana, would have the option to acquire an additional two and half percent. But the real source of revenue from the country is the petroleum income tax of 35% of whatever they earn from the production of crude oil. And that is what we would be looking at in addition to a total of about 12.5% apart from royalties of five percent to be able to develop our nation,” he said.