Risk analyst expresses concern over poor use of ABFA

An Economist and Political Risk Analyst, Dr TheophilusAcheampong, has lamented over the poor use of Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) funds and the need for improvement in monitoring costs.

Dr Acheampong said the government was always enjoined to prioritise not more than four areas when submitting a programme of activities to use petroleum revenues.

He saidthis at a lecture organised by the Public Interest and Accountability Committee(PIAC) on the topic, “10 years of the management and use of petroleum revenues in Ghana: The way forward”last week Wednesday.

The GH¢8.5 billion allocated to ABFA (2011-2020) was aimed to maximise the rate of economic development, promote equality of economic opportunities, and ensure a balanced development of administrational regions in Ghana.

“However the report revealed thatas much as agriculture modernisation was one of the main areas for ABFA investments, it only received eight per cent of the total GH¢8.5 billion ABFA allocations.

“This means, ABFA investments had not been deliberate to achieve even and balanced development despite scattering projects across all regions and in most districts,” he added.

Dr Acheampong said fewer moneys were channelled into the agricultural sector (eight per cent), whilst more moneys were pumped into roads, rails and critical infrastructure (53.51 per cent), but yet the quality of constructions in the country was not satisfactory.

“Most construction works have to be redesigned and these are all extra cost against the revenues generated from the petroleum sector, government must look for a quality investment strategy that would fetch better returns and not losses,” he said.

Dr Acheampong further explained that there was the need for the government to be deliberate in selecting strategic areas that would create more opportunities to spur developments in the rural areas, and stem urban migration.

“The agriculture sector employs over 70 per cent of Ghana’s rural population, therefore one of the strategic areas to achieve even and balanced development between rural and urban areas is to invest in the agriculture sector,” he said.

Dr Acheampongreferred to PIAC’s monitoring reports which stated that “the spreading of ABFA over myriad payments have resulted in an inefficient use of ABFA funds, there have been gross inconsistencies in disbursements hence many uncompleted projects, and cost incurred because of penalties from delayed payments.”

He, therefore, urged the government to have a “laser-like approach”and closely monitor costs incurred in oil drilling, and related activities as it was a major avenue through which the state was losing money in the industry.

“Although the country had made gains with oil discovery it had not met expectations and more needed to be done to make the best of the natural resource,” he said.

BY ANITA ANKRAH

Show More
Back to top button