President Mills announces infrastructure development plans for Western Region

One of the many sites in Sekondi needing serious renovation. Photo by Christiane Badgley

During a visit to Sekondi President Mills announced that 10% of Ghana’s oil revenues would not be enough for all the work that must be done in the Western Region. Those are words intended to please the chiefs of the Western Region who demanded that 10% of Ghana’s oil revenues to regional development. Their demand was thrown out of parliament and local leaders have vowed to make this an election issue.

Earmarking 10% of the country’s oil revenues for the Western Region is complicated: What happens when drilling begins in other regions and what precedent does this set for other industries, like mining? But no one can argue that the Western Region is not in need of massive infrastructure improvements. And, some say, the 10% demand provides Ghana’s leaders to consider the problem of resource-rich areas that have never fully benefited from their resources (in the gold mining sector, most notably).

Whether this is simply pre-campaign rhetoric or the sign of action to come, we’ll see in the coming months. In the meantime, here’s the article from the Daily Graphic

Western Region Will Get Share Of The Cake – Prez

The  President, Professor John Evans Atta Mills, has begun a four-day tour of the Western Region with an assurance to the chiefs and people of the region that he would not go off his development agenda.

He said in view of the significant contribution of the region to national development, the government would do everything possible to ensure that the region received its share of the national cake.

The President was addressing the chiefs and people of the Western Region at a colourful durbar held in his honour in Sekondi on Tuesday.

On the issue of the allocation of 10 per cent of oil revenue to the region for its development raised by the chiefs some time ago, Prof Mills said the development package being directed to the region in terms of infrastructure, education, among other things, would be massive.

He said left to him alone, even the 10 per cent being demanded by the chiefs was not enough.

The President said that notwithstanding, he was sure that at the end of the day when development projects that would help change the region were quantified, they would be more than the demands of the people.

“I want to assure the chiefs that we will not play with the development of the Western Region, as it is contributing a lot to the development of the country,” he said.

On road infrastructure, he said in the face of the constant rains that the region was blessed with, there was the need to asphalt most of the roads and reinforce them to stand the pressure.

The Western Regional Minister, Mr Paul Evans Aidoo, said typical of the region, it had enjoyed peace and tranquillity, which was very important for the prosecution of the country’s development and the better Ghana agenda.

He said in pursuance of the government’s better Ghana agenda and its resolve to eliminate schools under trees in the country, 170 new school projects, at a cost of GH¢37.8 million, had either been completed or were near completion.

For their part, the chiefs said it was unfortunate that their demand for 10 per cent of the oil revenue was taken out of context, with various interpretations being bandied about that the chiefs wanted the money for their individual pockets.

In a speech read on their behalf, Nana Kwesi Agyeman said the people of the region would continue to make the demand to fast-track the development agenda of the region.

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