The twin-city of Sekondi-Takoradi is gradually catching up on its former glory, with people from all walks of life trooping in to do various forms of businesses as evidenced by the increased vehicular traffic.
The Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis, which once witnessed brisk business due to the active utilisation of the Takoradi Harbour, the railways and timber industry, but went into slumber, when? these activities slumped is fast reawakening with the coming on stream of the oil and gas industry.
The Harbour made the west a strong force in the economic affairs of the country. In fact business was lucrative and many people, who engaged in commerce, spoke of the good old days with nostalgia.
Talk of the Railways, and the market women are happy because every Friday marked a “pay day” for workers of the Railways, they had something (money) to settle their debtors (Women traders) and goods to carry home for memorable weekends.
The timber merchants were the gurus in town but with forest conservation activities all over, some of the contractors have had to fold up.
With the arrival of the latest kid-on-the on block – Oil, Twin-City has regained international attention again and much is expected from players in the industry and the Government at large.
The oil discovery will no doubt increase the revenue base of the economy and so the stakes are high for the local folks, who are directly affected by the find.
Government must indeed adopt pragmatic measures to prevent the country from catching the “Dutch disease” a situation where there is so much hard currency available and almost everything is imported leading to the collapse of local industries.
INFLUX OF PEOPLE:
People are trooping in. Yes they are! They are coming from all walks of life- both from Africa and beyond to do business with its resultant increase in social vices including prostitution and robbery.
Motor traffic has grown and increasingly becoming unbearable due to the number of cars on the few roads.
LESSONS FROM ELSEWHERE:
Even though Ghana?s oil industry according to experts is not as big as other countries like Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, there is the need to guard against the mismanagement of the resource. Nigeria is a classical example of how the mismanagement of oil revenue can plunge a country into disaster. Talk of the constant destabilisation of the Niger Delta Area.
Dr Toni Aubyn, Director of Corporate Affairs of Tullow Oil, one of key players in the oil industry, said the Company had put in place effective emergency response mechanism plan to deal with any eventuality.
He said the Company with its competent staff was dealing with sophisticated modern technology that would detect faults before they even occur adding that Tullow had the capabilities to address any disaster.
Mr Ishmael Edjekumhene, Executive Director of the Kumasi Institute of Technology, at a forum on managing peoples expectation of the oil find said Ghana for a start could only produce between 60,000 -120,000 barrels of oil a day.
He said the Floating Production Storage Offloading (FPSO) facility could at the moment offer 670 direct job opportunities for experts adding; ?there are other auxiliary job opportunities in the sector?.
Mr Edjekumhene noted that Ghana?s share in the Jubilee Field was between 38 per cent and 52 per cent, which would be in the form taxes and royalties.
According to him, an estimated 200 million dollars to 1.6 billion dollars should accrue to the nation annually and 20 billion dollars for the 20-year lifespan of the Field.
Madam Betty Busumtwi-Sam, Deputy Western Regional Minister, proposed the establishment of a Regional Accelerated Development Plan for the Region to ensure that development did not elude the Region once again.
She said the Region was lagging behind in development in spite of its great contribution to the Gross National Product (GNP) as a result of its abundant natural resources.
The Oil according to experts has come to stay for at least 20 years and so the needed benefits must accrue to the generality of Ghanaians.
By Mildred Siabi-Mensah