�Oil Find Has Strategic Ecomonic Importance�

The Director of the Institute of Continuing and Distance Education at the University of Ghana, Legon, Professor Yaw Oheneba-Sakyi, has stated that the newly-found oil could be a curse or blessing for the nation depending on how the resources are harnessed. He noted that oil and gas, if well managed well, would have a ripple effect on other sectors of the economy. According to Professor Oheneba-Sakyi, even though the production of oil and gas presents some challenges, it has some strategic importance to the economy which needs to be managed well. The Director of the Institute of Continuing and Distance Education made the statement during the launch of the 63rd New Year School and Conference in Accra under the theme, �One Year of Oil and Gas Production- Emerging Issues,� which is slated from 8-14 January, 2012 in Accra. He reiterated that the Institute chose oil and gas because of its strategic importance to the country�s economy and added that the Institute is working hard to provide a platform for the dispassionate and objective discussion of matters affecting the overall development of the country. According to him, the main purpose of the launch of the 63rd New Year School and Conference is to encourage consensus building among people of diverse professional opinions and backgrounds. The conference would further provide the opportunity to civil society organisations, scholars, journalists, Members of Parliament (MPs), public/state institutions as well as concerned citizens of Ghana to offer alternative strategies toward the efficient and effective management of oil and gas. He was of the conviction that with regular discussions and consensus building among people of diverse opinions and backgrounds, the youth would be more useful for the ever-changing job market. In line with this, the University of Ghana, Legon, through the Institute of Continuing and Distance Education, is once again holding the conference to offer the opportunity to take part in the discussion of important issues. Professor Emmanuel Kweku Osam, Pro Vice-Chancellor, in charge of Academics and Student Affairs, University of Ghana, on his part, appealed to Ghanaians not to politicize issues relating to the country�s oil find in order to make meaningful contributions towards its development. He noted that Ghana can only become successful if Ghanaians put their interest in party politics aside and work towards developmental issues. Professor Osam noted that Ghana must learn from the best practices in the world in terms of the management of oil and gas, stressing that it must not abandon the agricultural sector which employs majority of the people. Professor John Gyapong, Pro Vice-Chancellor in charge of Research, Innovation and Development, University of Ghana, Legon, launching the New Year School, said Ghana should gain more from the oil since it has the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of countries like Nigeria.