The Duke’s:  Ghana’s Oil Curse: The Expatriate Factor

Oil find has been a blessing to many desert-located countries in the Arab World.

The commodity has enabled countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to establish a super-fast-growth economy that is the envy of even, the developed world. Before 1958, the Island of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, was a bare desert land.

But with oil found in the late 1950’s, Abu Dhabi has not only assumed the capital city of the Emirates, but also contributes 10 percent of the world’s oil production and 90 percent produce, in the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi run one of the most successful football clubs in the world— Manchester City, in the English Premier League.

The Qataris are also in control of another top European football team, Paris Saint Germain of France with some of the most expensive players in the world. They include, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Brazilian Neymar. The Saudis have taken over another Premiership side Newcastle. The two most glamourous teams in England—Manchester United and Liverpool Football Clubs are the latest to clamour for some injection of oil money into their clubs.

The investments in football is a well thought through intent. As a non-renewable product, oil has a time span. And the Arabs are aware. So they needed to diversify ahead of any possible period that their major source of revenue would dry-up. Their move is not only limited to sports. Most of the biggest markets or malls in the world are owned by the Qataris, the Saudis and the Emirates. They have a huge presence in the Aviation industry too.

Recently, the tiny Qatar played host to the rest of the World in a mega World Cup fiesta that was purely driven by oil money. What about Ghana? However, in Ghana, our oil find has become a curse than a blessing. Ironically, the foreign expatriate companies that we rely on for the extraction of Ghana’s oil, are those at the centre of the naked thievery of the Ghana’s oil revenue.

Within a period 10 years, foreign mining companies have deliberately failed to pay revenue taxes that run into Millions of Dollar loses to the country. Not only that. These expatriate companies have also failed to declare taxes on its insurance premium. That has also led to Ghana losing Millions of Dollars in tax revenue. Attempts by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA)  has hit a snag.

The expatriate companies have taken GRA to court of arbitration, claiming they can’t trust the figures being churned by the GRA. This is after the Oil company had in writing admitted to the tax infraction. Meanwhile, Ghana is supposed to earn 57.75%  of proceeds from our oil deposits. Ironically, oil consumption continues to be the bane of the country’s economy. So why will oil be the source of pure wealth for countries in the Middle East, but a curse to us in most African States?

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