‘Don’t rely solely on petroleum revenue to fund free SHS’

The government has been advised to initiate strategies to generate additional money to implement the free Senior High School (SHS), and not to exclusively rely on petroleum revenue in funding the programme.

Civil society groups, chiefs, workers, religious leadersandrepresentatives of security agencies, who gave the advice,expressed worry that once the policy had come to stay, the petroleum revenue might not be able to sustain it.

They said petroleum revenue hadbeen used to tackle too many national problems at the same time, weakening the perennial impact of oil revenues on the economy.

They made the appeal at a forum,organised by Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), to mark ten years of the management and use of petroleum revenue, in Ho, in the Volta Region.

The event was on the theme: “Strengthening citizen’s ownership and understanding of PIAC and its oversight of petroleum revenue management.”

Mr Noble Wodzah, former chairman of PIAC,said that the committee had effectively exercised its oversight responsibility of monitoring and evaluating the management of Ghana’s petroleum resources by the government and stakeholder institutions.

According to him, the past and current governments had used the fund in the areas of education, health, roads and school infrastructure.

Mr Wodzahnoted that per PIAC records, almost every region in the country hadbenefited from the petroleum revenue.

He said that it was necessary for PIAC to organise a forum to inform Ghanaians about funds accrued from the petroleum sector within ten years, and receive suggestions and feedback from the public.

Mr Wodzahstressed that the committee had worked over the years lived up to its mandate and the forum was an attestation of the committee’s commitment towards its mandate.

He assured that all the suggestions, feedback and criticisms at the forum would be forwarded to the appropriate quarters for redress.

Dr Archibald Letsa, Volta Regional Minister, lauded PIAC for organising such engagement to educate the public about how the petroleum revenue had been used.

He said “our suggestions, proposals and views expressed would find expression in the policies and programmes for the sustainable management of the petroleum resources.”

The PIAC is a statutory body, established under section 56 of Petroleum Management Act 2011 (Act 815), to influence policy.

FROM KAFUI GATI, SOKODE LOKOE

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