Dr Thomas Kojo Stephens, Vice Chairman of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) has called for proper guidelines in the selection of priority areas when it comes to the execution of petroleum fund projects in the country.
He also suggested to the government to select four priority areas every three years to execute under the petroleum fund projects so as to maximise revenue effectively.
The Vice Chairman explained that doing selective execution of the projects would ensure effective monitoring and supervision to reduce the number of uncompleted projects and shoddy work.
Dr Stephens who said this at a joint meeting organised by the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) and the Shama District Assembly in Shama in the Western Region, pointed out that few legacy projects should be identified and supported by the Annual Budget Funding Account (ABFA).
The meeting was to among others provide an opportunity for all key stakeholders to make their contribution and update themselves on the use of oil revenue in line with development priorities.
He mentioned Agric and industry, Science and Technology, Water resources works and Housing, infrastructure development, healthcare, environmental protection, public security and alternative energy sources as the priority areas of which the government used oil revenue to develop.
Dr Stephens indicated that from 2011-2016 a total amount of GH¢790,736,394.73. was spent on 84 major roads across the country and that a total of GH¢ 786,867,805.13 was spent in the areas of Energy, education, works and housing, transport, health, security, water, market, trade and industry and environment and science.
Dr Stephens expressed concern that only 11 per cent of petroleum revenue had been allocated to the agriculture sector which is the mainstay of the nation’s economy.
He mentioned misappropriation of funds applying to non-existent projects like the Nakori and Duori dams, none judicious use of funds as some challenges PIAC encountered in the process of its monitoring duties.
Dr Stephens said another challenge was the lack of adequate knowledge of projects by beneficiary communities and tasked the various District Chief executives to inform and involve community members of impending projects and the contractors involved to monitor the projects.
Ms Marilyn Aniwa PIAC Coordinator, mentioned royalties paid to the government by petroleum companies, Corporate income tax from drilling companies, surface rentals including; lands used, housing and accommodation and participating interest from national oil companies, bonuses, licencing fees as sources from which petroleum revenue were generated.
She explained that revenue generated was used for Agriculture modernisation, road and other infrastructure, amortisation and capacity building between 2011-2016.
She indicated that the annual crude oil production from 2010-2017 amounted to a total of 253,085,873 barrels cumulatively from Jubilee Fields 221,860,786 barrels, TEN Fields 25,769,575 and 5,455,512 barrels of oil from SGN Fields.
Ms Aniwa said the total annual petroleum receipts from 2011- 2017 yielded $4.009 billion, which was used for developmental projects in priority areas.
The project coordinator indicated that petroleum revenue as a percentage of total government revenues was intangible owing to the fact that only a maximum of 10 per cent went to government.
According to her, the distribution of petroleum revenues from 2011 to 2017 showed that $1.6966 billion was allocated to Annual Budget Funding Account ( ABFA) which was used for government projects, $323.72 million to Ghana Heritage Fund (GHF) which are monies set aside for the generation unborn, $776.54 million to Ghana Stabilisation Fund (GSF) , a fund that is used intermittently to stabilise the economy in case of loses and $1.2393 billion to Ghana National Petroleum Company( GNPC ).
The Shama District planning officer, Alhaji Mahama Abu announced that the Shama Secondary School expansion project for free SHS, Shama town roads and the Ameri project at Aboadze thermal plant were all oil revenue funded projects.
The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) is an independent statutory body mandated to promote transparency and accountability in the management of petroleum revenues in Ghana.
Some of the participants suggested that completed Petroleum Fund Projects (PFP) should be embossed with the label of PFP just like how HIPC projects were labelled to ensure easy identification.