Conduct forensic audit into projects funded by oil revenues – Government told

Government should conduct forensic audit into projects funded by oil revenues from the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) between 2011 and 2016 to ensure that that there is value for money for those projects, the Executive Director of the Kumasi Institute of Technology (KITE), Ishmael Edjekumhene has said.

That, he said, was necessary to ensure if indeed those projects were executed.

Mr Edjekumhene said this in Accra on Wednesday during a seminar to present a report KITE has conducted to analyse transparency and accountability in petroleum revenue management in the country between 2011 and 2016.

 The report titled, ‘Transparency and Accountability in the Oil and Gas Sector: Results from an Impact Evaluation of Key Provisions in Ghana’s Petroleum Revenue Management Act’, analysed oil funded projects executed between 2011 and 2016.

The three-year project was conducted by KITE in partnership with the University of East Anglia, University of Oulu, Wageningen University and Research.

Mr Edjekumhene said out of the 31 projects inspected, only 27 were indeed found to have been constructed, saying the remaining four projects could not be found.

He said the study also ascertained that the oil revenues were “spread too thinly” among so many projects, thus the impact of oil revenues were not being felt by the citizens.

Mr Edjekumhene also said the study found out that some of the projects were not prioritised to meet the needs of the citizens and also there were lack of information on some of the projects.

The Executive Director of KITE also intimated that most of the projects were not executed in line with the medium term development goals of the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies.

He said the study also found that some of the local people were not aware of oil funded projects sited in their communities.

 Among other recommendation, Mr Edjekumhene said government should develop a long term strategy for the utilisation of oil revenues from the ABFA.

The Chairman of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), Dr Steve Manteaw, expressed worry about lack of long term strategy document on how oil revenue should be utilised.

He said the absence of this document was making it difficult for people being impacted negatively by the operations of oil companies to seek for compensation.

 By Kingsley Asare

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