AFRICA/GHANA - "Use oil proceeds for the common good": appeal on behalf of the Bishops of Ghana

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Accra (Agenzia Fides) - "Good governance involves the judicious use of national resources," say the Bishops of Ghana who ask the oil proceeds to be used, recently discovered in the country, for the good of the whole population. The appeal was launched at the end of the Plenary Assembly of the Episcopal Conference of Ghana, which was held from November 2 to 11 in Takoradi in the Western Region on the theme "Good Governance for Peace".
In the final statement, sent to Agenzia Fides, it says that beyond the different political and constitutional systems "good governance refers to the same universal ideas on how to handle public matters to create spaces that allow people to live in dignity, prosperity, security and peace. Good governance is a means to come to an end which is an end in itself".
After pointing out that Ghana has earned a reputation for good governance, the Bishops stressed the need to preserve the results achieved so far, "especially with the 2012 elections approaching."
"One source of pressure that is raising the temperature of political debate, are the discoveries of oil off the Western Region," the statement said. "The discovery of oil in general is good news. Countries like Norway have shown that, thanks to good governance, additional resources from oil can be exploited to create a nation at peace with itself, " write the Bishops, but note how "in Ghana, the first signs are cause for concern ". "The debate in Parliament on whether a fixed percentage of these resources should be reserved for the Development of Western Region and the government disputes with oil companies, indicate that we are in danger of repeating the errors associated with the production of oil made in other parts Africa, with terrible consequences ".
For this reason the Bishops of Ghana underline the demand that the government and oil companies develop a culture of transparency, regularly publishing any information on contracts and exploration and production, as well as those of the audit carried out by reliable companies. The Bishops then ask that a portion of the oil proceeds, discovered in the Western Region, are used for the development of the region's infrastructure, in particular roads. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 15/11/2011)