Govts violate Petroleum Revenue Management Act – PIAC

 Prof. Mike Oquaye, Speaker of Parliament

Prof. Mike Oquaye, Speaker of Parliament

A member of the Public Interest Accountability Committee (PIAC), Dr Steve Manteaw, has accused successive Ministers of Finance, since Ghana started drilling oil, of violating sections of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA), Act 815.

 

According to Dr Manteaw, Section 48(1) of the PRMA, which mandates the Finance Minister to account to Parliament on the management of petroleum revenue as part of the budget presentation has been violated since 2010 and wants that addressed in next year’s budget, which would be read today.

 

Section 48 (1) of the PRMA states that; “The (Finance) Minister shall submit an annual report on the Petroleum Funds as part of the annual presentation of the budget statement and economic policies to Parliament.”

 

But speaking at Speaker’s Breakfast Forum yesterday, on challenges in the gold mining sector and the lessons for the oil and gas sector, Dr Manteaw said that statutory obligation was yet to be met.

 

The forum was to give Parliament the opportunity to interact with key stakeholders on various policy implementations in the oil and gas sector.

 

It was in collaboration with the Ghana Oil & Gas for Inclusive Growth (GOGIG) with funding from the UK Aid.

 

Apart from the violation of the Act, Dr Manteaw labelled some oil projects as ‘ghost projects’ and the actual ones shoddily done.

 

Project inspections done by the PIAC “recently,” he said revealed that “a lot of the projects are nonexistent and those that are in existence are deteriorating barely one year into their completion.

 

“This raises serious concerns about the quality of spending and the value for money consideration that is underpinned in the use of oil revenue.”

 

He said the oil and gas sector is mal-administered including inconsistency in the arrangement for the administration for surface rentals on which the PIAC had reported the non compliance by “most” of the upstream companies with the obligation to pay surface rentals.

 

Dr Steve Manteaw, a campaign coordinator at the Integrated Social Development Center (ISODEC), said Ghana lacked a coordinated policy to effectively address the lapses in the oil sector, saying the current system was fraught with lapses.

 

The Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, on his part said stakeholders involved in the oil sector should ensure it was a blessing rather than a curse and that “what has happened in the gold industry must serve as a good lesson as to what we should be doing in the future.”

 

He said Ghana, the second largest gold producer in Africa, was yet to realise the potential, though it has raked in revenue pre-dating independence.

 

He cited Malaysia as a country which used revenue from gold to become a first world country and said it was not late for Ghana to change its development paradigm with the mineral resources at its disposal.

 

The Majority and Minority Leaders, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu and Haruna Iddrisu said they were committed to ensuring Acts passed by Parliament were adhered to, including that on declaration of usage of oil proceeds so that the citizenry became the true beneficiaries of resources from the oil and gas and other sectors.

 

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

 

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