Western Chiefs back down on Oil Revenue Demands
The Western Region House of Chiefs have shelved their demands for ten per cent of the total oil revenue to be accrued by the nation. This follows a meeting held with President John Mills. The chiefs sent a petition to Parliament demanding the creation of the Western Region oil fund with ten per cent of the oil revenue to be generated. They claim the region has been abandoned by successive governments and left impoverished even though the region provides a chunk of the country’s natural resources. The fund they argued was to be used for development projects and to raise the standard of living of the people within the region. Their request was however turned down by Parliament. At the official ceremony to outdoor Ghana’s oil find on December 15, 2010, the president of the Western Region House of Chiefs once again drew government’s attention to the need for the region to benefit from the oil find. Awulae Atibrikusu III in his speech hinted the chiefs were still looking forward to government honouring their petition. However after a meeting with the president, the Chiefs have backed down on their demands. The President of the House of Chiefs Awulae Atibrikusu III told Joy News’ Araba Koomson the assurances given by the president were convincing enough for a change of mind. According to him, President John Mills promised to use part of the loan secured from the Chinese government to undertake road projects in the region. He said the President further promised that comprehensive infrastructural projects such as health centres, schools and other projects which exceeds the ten per cent revenue demanded will be undertaken with part of the oil revenue. The President, he said, has given a time frame of between two weeks to three months for residents in the region to see signs of infrastructural developments. For now they appear convinced with the President’s assurances and will be waiting for him to walk the talk. Head of Communications at the presidency, Koku Anyidoho said the president will not betray the trust the chiefs have reposed in him. He described the meeting with the chiefs as fruitful, saying the region will get the best of what it deserves.