We can’t ‘see’ oil revenue projects

Some PIAC officials and participants

Some PIAC officials and participants

THE use of petroleum revenue to tackle too many national projects at the same time has weakened the potential impact of oil proceeds on the country’s socio-economic development, according to the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC).

For instance, Dr Thomas Stephens, Vice Chairman of PIAC, said that only 11 per cent of petroleum revenue has been allocated to the agriculture sector which is the mainstay of the economy.

He was speaking at an engagement with about 40 selected journalists and editors from all the 10 regions, on various activities of the committee in Ho at the weekend.

“PIAC has made these concerns known to government through its annual and semi-annual reports and we believe there ought to be properly defined guidelines in the selection of the priority areas,” Dr Stephens stated.

Apart from that, he said that few legacy projects should be identified and rather supported by the annual budget funding amount (ABFA).

Dr Stephens expressed concerns over the utilisation of ABFA and said that last year the ABFA allocation was GH¢736.03 million out of which GH¢332.29 million was spent, leaving an unspent amount of GH¢403.7 million.

However, he said that the Ministry of Finance has not been able to so far account for the remaining amount, and that raised worries over the poor level of budget compliance with respect to the ABFA allocation.

“It also raises concerns about the absorptive capacity of the economy, the PIAC vice chairman added.

Earlier, Dr Steve Manteaw, PIAC chairman called for a broader scope of the participation of the citizenry in the management and use of oil revenue.

He sought to know why government could not reduce the price of petroleum products if it earned much in excess of what it projected, and also had a stabilisation fund for the sector.

Dr Manteaw called for a strong partnership between the media and PIAC to block the leakages of the oil revenue.

He pointed out that the country exported crude oil, for which reason the gains from that area should cushion the fluctuations in the price of petroleum products.

Mr Affail Monney, president of the Ghana Journalists’ Association (GJA) entreated editors to encourage and resource their reporters to follow-up swiftly on PIAC’s concerns of propriety in the petroleum industry and with regards to other national development projects.

FROM ALBERTO MARIO NORETTI, HO

 

 

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