Thursday, August 19, 2010
Christians demand transparency
Reverend Fred Deegbe is the General Secretary of the Christian Council, Ghana
Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday August 19, 2010
THE CHRISTIAN Council, in collaboration with the Ghana Pentecostal Council, wants to empower the Christian community to demand accountability and transparency from government in the management of the country’s natural resources, particularly oil.
As a result, the two bodies with sponsorship from the Ghana Research and Advocacy Programme (GRAP) are outlining a series of educational programmes that will sensitize the public on how the oil find should be managed to bring accelerated development.
At a media briefing in Accra yesterday, General Secretary of the Christian Council, Reverend Fred Deegbe said “the time has come for ecumenical bodies and civil society organizations to let the public have greater understanding of the management of the country’s natural resources.”
He said a section of the public are having what he termed as “high expectation” of the oil find and it needs dialogue and consensus building to get such people to understand how revenue accruing from the oil should be used.
“In line with our prophetic roles we have formed this coalition to contribute to the development of our oil and gas industry and help bring equitable distribution in the industry,” he stressed.
Rev. Deegbe said they will be working closely with civil society organizations and lobby policy and decision-makers with the view to influencing policies regulating the industry.
He said oil discovery and production has increased “resource nationalism and corruption which has combined to make a few people fabulously rich and driven the majority into extreme poverty. That is why we must all work together to avoid that situation in Ghana.”
The oil industry, he observed, has supported many economies in the world, stressing that Ghana should not be left out once oil has been discovered in commercial quantities.
Apostle Samuel Yaw Antwi of the Ghana Pentecostal Council said “we believe the church’s voice must be heard in the management of the country’s resources. We are an important development partner. If we intensify the education of our people we will be empowering them to question how the country’s resources are used for our benefit.”
“We have taken into consideration the rate at which the country’s gold, diamond, bauxite, timber, among others have been misapplied and we will continue to engage the government and all stakeholders over the use of the country’s resources so that we do not repeat the past mistakes.”