Ghanaians in the Volta Region have urged the government to ensure the full benefit of the oil and gas resources of the country are realized before abandoning it for clean energy.
According to them, the call by international organizations and developed countries that countries should move towards clean energy must be critically assessed before concrete decisions are made.
As of 2021, Ghana has realised US$6.5billion in revenue from oil production since 2011, yet the impact is not as expected, the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) and many Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have observed.
The revenue has been thinly spread across key priority areas at the discretion of the government, hence making the impact minimal. The government’s Free Senior High School Programme launched in 2017 has been largely financed by oil and gas revenue.
Even as the country still debates the best way to maximize the use of petroleum revenue, the country is being invited by the international community to move from fossil fuels to clean and renewable energy.
Speaking at an energy transition stakeholders meeting in Ho recently, the President of the Volta Regional House of Chiefs. Togbe Tepre Hodo re-echoed the sentiments of stakeholders in the region and cautioned the government to hasten slowly in the National Energy Transition process as developed countries had benefited immensely from the use of fossil fuels before moving towards clean energy.
To this end, it was important for developing countries like Ghana, to be allowed to use the oil revenue to improve its lot, before considering a transition. Better still, the two energy forms could be perused side by side to bridge the development gap between the developed world and the developing world.
The forum dubbed; “Stakeholder Forum on the National Transition Plan” was aimed at sensitizing the populace on why the world is shifting from carbon-based energy sources and consumption to clean energy sources that reduce carbon dioxide emissions towards net-zero. It also solicited the views of participants who had been drawn from various districts and institutions in the region.
Volta Regional Minister, Dr. Archibald Letsa, stressed that the exegesis of the time called for a strategic plan to overcome the challenges envisaged by the energy transition agenda and the need to move towards cleaner energy.
Mohammed Amin Adam, who is the Deputy Energy Minister and Chairman of the National Energy Transition Plan Committee, shared the concerns raised by Togbe Tepre Hodo.
He observed that the call to do away with fossil fuels come at a time when Ghana is accelerating its search for oil and gas in the Volta region, to open up the region and the economy at large, just like in developed countries.
The fallouts of Covid-19 have taught countries to invest heavily to be resourceful. He said “Those asking us to stop (fossil fuel usage) may not give us money to replace the money we would have gotten from these resources (Oil and Gas), nor are they going to give us jobs to replace the jobs that would have been created.” Yet, there is still the need to make the most out of the entire process.
Dr. Amin Adam stressed that in deciding what was best for Ghana, the threat of climate change and the danger of denying Ghanaians the needed development must be considered in protecting Ghana’s energy security.
Dr. Robert Sogbadji, a member of the committee revealed that whereas Ghana uses 33 watts per person, USA uses 1387 watts per person. It was impossible to compete with the developed world, hence in order to protect its energy security, the government has created a petroleum hub to reprocess fuel and lubricants as countries the world over are shunning carbon-based systems in favour of cleaner energy for survival.
Furthermore, there would not be funding from donors, hence there is the need for a collaboration between African countries to set up funds to develop the oil and gas resources.