The Vice-Chair of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) wants government agencies to see the recent ruling on the maritime boundary dispute as a new chapter in how the country’s oil cash should be used.
Kwame Jantuah is also suggesting that henceforth agencies that misapply revenues from oil should be made to face sanctions and not left off the hook, revealing plans by his committee to take its adverse findings of misapplication of oil revenues to Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
He said because PIAC has no prosecuting powers, submitting its reports to PAC will secure a more effective response.
Kwame Jantuah, an oil and gas expert, was speaking Monday evening on current affairs programme, PM Express, on the Joy News channel on MultiTV.
The International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) on Saturday gave its ruling on the long drawn out maritime boundary dispute between Ghana and Ivory Coast, accepting Ghana’s arguments in the matter.
Ghana argued that the equidistance rule should be used in delimiting the maritime boundary between the two countries.
The ruling ensured that Ghana retained the boundary that has its key oilfields, among them the Tweneboa, Enyira and Ntome (TEN) fields.
Tullow Oil, a key player at the TEN fields, says it will resume operations by December 2017, after putting it on hold for two years due to the dispute.
Tullow Oil says it will drill new wells and boost output at the TEN field to 80,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 40,000 bpd.
“Now that we have won this [maritime dispute], it very important that we judiciously see how that money is going to come from the new oilfields that this ruling will help us get,” said Kwame Jantuah.
Leaking Consolidated Fund
Kwame Jantuah rejects the current practice of depositing a chunk of the oil revenues in the Consolidated Fund, arguing that investment is a better option.
“I remember when this oil thing started some of us told the government that let us not put 70% into the Consolidated Fund. The Consolidated Fund is leaking anyway...let’s invest it for five years because before oil came we were still surviving.
“Let’s invest it start using that interest to do other things, but no. We took 70%, put it in the Consolidated Fund and I being at PIAC, you look at the amount of money invested...sometimes you go and the project is not there. And to account for it becomes very difficult,” he said.