I guess we now have a clue as to why our leaders will always sign unacceptable agreements. Their selfishness is the reason for our underdevelopment. The people themselves must rise up and say no to all those foreign-funded corporations and NGOs that have been buying-off our leaders and our independence by giving them so-called "prestige" and awards. It's a shame. There is no nationalism, no patriotism, of any kind. How can a country that has suffered over a decade of economic hardship settle for something like a 10% "royalty" on a multi-billion-dollar resource like oil?
Meanwhile, at the moment, although early indications are positive, the exact extent of oil deposits found in the country still remains unknown. Regional leaders have already settled for peanuts from the big oil corporations, handing over the oil reserves to Western firms with virtually nothing left in the near future for ordinary Somalis. This brings to mind my biggest concern: Why are such sensitive agreements always made in the corridors of secrecy, when the destiny of entire generations depends on them? Why must the good people of Somalia be satisfied to allow a few selfish, greedy and corrupt politicians to negotiate on their behalf in camera, and then never adequately convey to them the details of the agreements they reach?
Especially in a country like Somalia, which has been plunged in civil war and suffered decades of economic hardship, wouldn't it have been better to put momentous oil agreements in the public domain, where they could be discussed openly in consultation with leaders of the regional block?
But, in this case as in others, Somali leaders have held to the practice of never consulting their colleagues on critical issues. A few millions poured into their offshore accounts, and the agreement is sealed, leaving the masses of the poor to their fate.
Will Somalia Repeat Other Countries' Mistakes?
Today, in Nigeria, western oil companies loot some $140 billion a year of the country's oil, while 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. These figures, Thomas C. Mountain writes, reveal the shocking reasons why many Nigerians remain the poorest people in Africa, despite their country's abundance 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 it. Can such an agreement truly improve 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 its oil to the foreign firms.
A Call for Somalis to Rebel Against Treacherous Oil Agreements
The time is right for the Somali parliaments to consider banning those who call themselves politicians, but are in truth traitors, from receiving funds from abroad as a means to accumulate resources. I am calling on Somalis to rise up and rebel against the treacherous oil agreements that have given our Black Gold to foreign companies for free. Oil is our destiny, and we must not allow foreigners to steal it by dealing with our greedy politicians who care only about themselves and their families. If the oil were the personal property of the politicians, would they approve the unfair contracts they have signed?
Unfortunately, in Somalia, both the Parliament and the media fail to critically examine the content of all those oil agreements. The journalists, who should be critical of bad policy and bad conduct, instead revel in the titillations of money and fame, always discussing the politicians as if there were no other issues worth considering.
Legislation should be introduced to ban all regional politicians from signing contracts or sourcing for funds from abroad. In addition, the country's planners should try to deepen economic activities in other areas. The resulting diversification would help avert exogenous shocks due to the volatility of oil prices in international markets.
Privatization of state resources should cease immediately. Governments cannot continue the habit of selling off every strategic resource without adequate long-term planning. Somali leaders must take pains 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 tendency to put everything in the hands of the regions must stop. We must for once develop the habit of managing our own affairs.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are beginning a long walk to perpetual poverty and economic impoverishment in Somalia, as big corporations begin to loot Somalia's wealth. For every $100 billion in profits made by the oil corporations, Somalia will get only a few $100 million.
It's time for everyone to wake up and see how the "system" now works in world politics. Certainly, neo-colonialism is the last stage of imperialism. Somalia 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 Somali resources while the Somali people wallow in poverty. It's time we said Enough is Enough.
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