Meanwhile at the moment, although early indications are positive, the exact extent of oil deposits found in the country still remains unknown. Leaders have already settled for a peanut from big oil corporations as they hand over the oil reserves to the western firms with virtually nothing left for the ordinary Liberian in the near future.
The Canadian Overseas Petroleum Limited (COPL) recently disclosed offering the politicians, a mere U$45m in cash toward the purchase of block 13 of Liberia’s oil industry, a move which will see Liberia lose billions of dollars every year to the COPL. I wonder why these politicians will just sell the oil reserves for merely $45m when the actual oil deposit is yet unknown? How many of the poor Liberian families will benefit from the $45m given to the politicians?
Liberian politicians have been blinded by the mere $45millon they received as “signature fee”, forgetting about the long term financial loses, the environmental damage and all the hardships the country will endure while their foreign ‘donors’ bag a whopping 95% profit shares on a monthly basis! Oh Africa! When are we seriously going to plan for tomorrow? Why are African leaders so keen on the few millions today, while they ignore the billions which the big oil companies will be reaping in the coming years?
This brings to mind my most worried concern: Why are such sensitive agreements always held in the corridors of secrecy when the destiny of entire generations depends on them? Why must the good people of Liberia allow only a few selfish, greedy and corrupt politicians to negotiate on their behalf in camera, without adequately conveying the detail content of such agreements to the public?
For a country like Liberia which had been plunged into civil war and suffered decades of economic hardship, seeing the need to put such oil agreements in the public domain, and discussing them in consultation with leaders of the regional block would have been a better decision.
But as usual, African leaders never consult their colleagues during such critical moments. Only a few millions into their offshore accounts and the agreement is sealed, living the poor masses to their fate.
Will Liberia Repeat Nigeria and Ghana’s Mistakes?
In Nigeria for instance, as western oil companies loot some $140 Billion a year of the country’s oil, two-thirds of the country’s 160 million people live on less than $2 a day. Western oil companies are literally looting Nigeria’s oil, paying as little as a 9% royalty. Simply put, at $100 a barrel the western oil companies get $91 and Nigeria only gets $9. Or more shockingly, Big Oil makes $140 billion a year vs. Nigeria’s $10 Billion, writes Thomas C. Mountain as he reveals the shocking reasons why many Nigerians remain the poorest in Africa despite the country having plenty of oil and gas.
Ghana’s Oil Has Been Sold Off Already
Today in Ghana, when Tullow Oils makes a profit of $3 billion, Ghana gets only $3 million out of that. Can this agreement truly better the lives of Ghanaians? Yet, former president Kuffuor, the man who recently suggested that bad leadership is Africa’s problem, was the same president who signed Ghana’s oil agreement handing over our oil to the foreign firms. This is what happens when foreign corporations are allowed to secretly finance our politicians for into power during election periods!
The time is right for the African parliaments to consider banning these traitors who call themselves politicians from receiving funds from abroad as a means to finance their political campaigns. I am calling on the African youth to rise up and rebel against such dangerous oil agreements which has given our black gold to the foreign companies for free. This is our destiny and we must not allow foreigners to steal it through these greedy politicians who care only about themselves and their families. If the oil were to be the personal property of the politicians, would they approve such unfair contracts?
Unfortunately, instead of the African media to critically examine the content of all those oil agreement, these journalists are only concerned about elections, always discussing the politicians as if there are no other issues worth discussing.
The Way Forward
Legislations must be introduced to ban all politicians from sourcing for funds from abroad during elections periods. It is usually during such times such contract documents are signed.
The country’s planners should not neglect other sectors of the economy. They should try to deepen economic activities in other areas in order to diversify to avoid exogenous shocks due to volatility in the prices of oil on the international markets.
Privatization of state resources must cease with immediate effect. Governments cannot continue with the habit of selling off every strategic resource without adequate long term planning. African leaders must take the pain to invest in the training of more engineers to help build our industries so that we can manage the exploitation of our resources. The current attitude of putting everything in the hands of the Whiteman must stop. The Blackman must for once develop the habit of managing his own affairs.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the beginning of a long walk to perpetual poverty and economic impoverishment in Liberia as Big Oil corporations begin to loot Liberian worth. For very $100billion of profits made by the oil corporations, Liberians will only get some few $100 million donations.
I miss Hugo Chavez, I miss Muammar Gaddafi. These leaders showed oil-rich Africans the way, but due to corruption and selfishness, our leaders will not follow their steps. This is the major reason why I hate African democracy. For it is during these election periods that our politicians sign many of such bogus contracts. Once they ‘win’ the elections, any bogus agreements presented to them by their foreign donors, they will approve it. It’s a big challenge.
It’s time for everyone to wake up and see how the ‘system’ now works in African politics. Certainly, neo-colonialism is the last stage of imperialism. Ghanaians have already settled for some 10% share in their most-talked about oil. Nigerians have quietly accepted 9% for more than 50yrs.
Liberians must never settle for 5%! Anything less than 70% must be rejected by the people. This is the only way we can fight poverty and say enough to the western corporations who continue to enrich themselves with African resources while the African people wallow in poverty. Its time we said enough is enough.
By Honourable Saka
The writer is a Pan-African analyst and the founder of the Project Pan-Africa (PPA), an organization that was established to unlock the minds of the African youth to take Africa’s destiny into their hands. The PPA seeks to provide the biggest platform that will give international exposure to all hidden but exceptional talents in Africa. Please visit us at:www.projectpanafrica.org and support the project. PPA is grateful to ITech Plus, ZBC News, GhanaWeb, ModernGhana and all our partners that support our vision for Africa. Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org