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Mills, Yar'Adua oil deal in limbo   
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Despite claims by the government that President Mills has struck a deal with his Nigerian counterpart, President Musa Yar'Adua, for the supply of 60,000 barrels of crude oil to Ghana on daily basis,no deal has yet been sealed, The Chronicle newspaper reports.

Information gathered by The Chronicle indicates that the Nigerian government is dilly-dallying with the government of Ghana over no clear reasons.

Shortly after the arrival of President Mills and his entourage from a recent state visit to Nigeria, the Presidential Spokesperson, Mr. Mahama Ayariga, in counting the benefits of the trip said on Joy FM that a deal had been struck with the Nigerian government for the supply of 60 barrels of oil to Ghana daily.

He said the deal would commence as soon as the Government of Ghana translates the discussion onto paper. The Chronicle gathered that though the government of Ghana is ready to sign her side of the deal, her Nigerian counterpart is playing hard to find.

Responding to Chronicle's letter of enquiry on the subject, the deputy Minister of Energy, Dr. Kwabena Donkor, said negotiations were still ongoing.

According to him, the two Presidents had reached a consensus on the basic terms of the agreement, and what was left was for the technocrats to 'flesh' it up, which is now the subject for the ongoing negotiations.

Experts who spoke to the paper said the delay in the signing of the agreement could be an indication of bad omen, since under President Kufuor's administration the signing of the oil deal was done a few days after the verbal discussions had ended.

When the paper contacted the then Minister for Energy in the Kufuor administration, Mr. Albert Kan-Dapaah insisted that "the deal to secure crude oil from Nigeria did not take long, because at the time we were desperately in need of oil. It didn't take long, you know we were in a very desperate situation, getting it as quickly as possible was the main issue," he elaborated.

During the Joy FM interview, Mr. Ayariga noted that the Nigerian government had agreed that Ghana pays for the oil within ninety days. He added that prior to the discussion, Ghana was paying for the oil within 30 days.

Mr. Ayariga stated that, "Nigeria would give Ghana at a minimum of 60,000 barrels of crude oil per day, we asked for 65, but he committed himself to giving 60 at a minimum, and when they have enough they will increase it to 65."

He said the availability of the 60,000 barrels of oil from Nigeria meant Tema Oil Refinery could now process its maximum of 45,000 barrels a day while the remaining 15,000 would be channeled to the Volta River Authority to process it for the generation of electricity.

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