PIAC LAUNCHES CITIZENS’ VERSION OF PETROLEUM REVENUE REPORT

The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) has launched an improved and simplified version of its 2022 Annual Report to help empower citizens to demand accountability on petroleum revenue management.

The Citizens’ Version Report is part of efforts to provide citizens with relevant information on how petroleum revenues have been managed and utilised in a simplified manner.

Although simplified, the Citizens’ Version Report is very comprehensive and provides all the information captured in PIAC’s statutory reports – which a lot of people consider to be voluminous and technical.

The launch of the maiden Citizens’ Version Report in Accra was attended by the Paramount Chief of Asante Asokore – Nana Dr S.K.B. Asante, the co-chair of the Ghana Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (GHEITI) – Dr Steve Manteaw, the Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) – Kathleen Addy, current and some past Committee members of PIAC, and other dignitaries.

Commitment

The Chairperson of PIAC, Emerita Professor Elizabeth Ardayfio-Schandorf, said the Citizens’ Version reflected PIAC’s commitment to provide citizens with essential information on the management and use of petroleum revenues to promote transparency and accountability.

She said transparency and accountability remained critical to ensure prudent financial management, especially for an impactful sector such as the petroleum industry.

“The Citizens’ Version, thus, ensures that the complex information in our reports is presented in a simplified and accessible format to help empower citizens.

“We believe that getting the general public informed is the foundation of a transparent and accountable governance structure for our petroleum revenues,” she said.

Crucial Report

Mr Manteaw stated that the new PIAC Citizens’ Version Report would help Ghanaians understand how successive governments had managed petroleum revenues in the country.

“The report comes in a crucial year because we are going into Ghana’s general elections in December 2024 and these are some of the things many Ghanaians would consider before deciding to vote,” he said.

He also said that crude oil exploration may be on a decline and the government might have to take steps to reverse the trend.

Also, he said the government must take policy action that would help relax the fiscal regime to make it more attractive for investors.

“The government must rethink the prioritisation of petroleum revenue spending. This is the time we need to consider investing parts of our revenues in renewable energy investments,” he said.

Healthy Democracy 

The Chairperson of the NCCE noted that accountability was a key principle of a healthy democracy all over the world.

That, Ms Addy said, underpinned the concept of a social contract where citizens outsourced personal and collective resources such as taxes and oil revenue to elected representatives who formed a government and deployed the resources for the common good of the people.

However, she said citizens must also take up the responsibility of actively ensuring that the power and resources that they had given to their representatives were used for the benefits of the citizens.

Initiatives such as the PIAC Citizens’ Version Report, she said, were effective for the enlightenment and the empowerment of citizens with the right information to demand accountability.

SOURCE: GRAPHIC ONLINE

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