It has emerged that six years into petroleum production in Ghana, only 11 per cent of the accrued revenue has been allocated to the agricultural sector which is touted as the mainstay of the economy.
Indeed, agricultural modernisation is part of the four priority areas selected for the use of Petroleum Revenue (PR) for 2011-2016. The rest are road infrastructure, amortisation and capacity building.
Although reports by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) show that an amount of GH¢357,063,439.91 was spent on the sector in the period under review, an analysis by the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) puts the figure at GH¢238,677,320.91.
For the National Fertiliser Subsidy Programme, both the MOF and PIAC reports stated an amount of GH₵71, 283,782 was spent.
PIAC analysis show a total of GH¢55, 098,852 was spent on other national programmes under agriculture modernisation, while the MOF report puts the figure at GH¢54, 484,852.
Addressing a forum on the Management of Petroleum Revenues at the Shai Osudoku District organised by PIAC, the Vice Chairman of the PIAC, Mr Kwame Jantuah, said the committee could not find exactly what the other national projects were about.
The PIAC, comprising professionals, pressure and traditional / religious groups who undertake compliance monitoring on petroleum revenues, provide a platform for public debate on them and do independent assessments, organised the forum in collaboration with the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ) with support from GIZ.
Mr Jantuah said instead of using the oil money for projects, a lot of the money was used for arrears and so the sector did not really benefit from the oil revenue and that Ghanaians were worried about how the oil money was spent.
He said although attempts we made to do some irrigation,it was not enough.
“Just imagine if we have spent quiet a lot of money on the sector which is the mainstay of many people in the rural areas, it would push agriculture a step further because now agriculture is still hoe and machete. We need to accelerate it,” he said.
He emphasised the sector was a heavy priority area and hoped that with a long-term development, the country will be able to fund the sector as required.
He said it was unfortunate that the oil price was stagnating between US$42 and US$52 a barrel.
Total annual petroleum receipts, 2011-2016 amounted to US$3.427 billion. A breakdown shows US$444.13 million in 2011, US$541.62 million in 2012, US$846.56 million in 2013, US$978.01 million in 2014, US$387.83 million in 2015 and US$229.04 million in 2016.
Sources of petroleum revenues include royalties of five-12 per cent, 35 per cent of corporate income tax, a minimum of 15 per cent carried and participating interest and surface rentals of which rates vary from agreement to agreement.
Others are bonuses, licensing fees, additional oil entitlements.