The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) has launched an issue paper cataloguing a number of issues needing urgent attention in the petroleum revenue management space.
The paper, which has been launched ahead of marking a decade of petroleum production in December this year, is to draw the attention of appropriate authorities to deal with the issues.
The Chairman of the committee, Mr Noble Wadzah, at the launch in Accra last Friday, said 10 years was rife for the country to do an introspection of how it had managed revenues from its oil resource.
“In the committee’s view, bringing these issues to the fore, is a good way to insulate the upstream petroleum sector from the ‘resource curse’ phenomenon that characterised the mining sector so as to ensure the needed socio-economic transformation.
“This is particularly important, given the inverse relationship between our gold mining history and impact on development outcome which indicates poverty of good governance,” he stated.
He said the committee had over the years raised critical issues relating to the management and use of petroleum revenues, and that it was time to highlight all the issues in a single document to ensure that they were given urgent attention and commitment for redress.
According to Mr Wadzah, the committee’s assessment of the management and utilisation of the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA), mechanism over the years, had revealed that even though the government had been consistent in selecting the four priority areas as per the law, actual expenditure normally stretched beyond the 12 listed priority thresholds.
Also associated with the above, he noted, was the thin-spread of the revenue for projects, characterised by paltry allocations, in which way, made it difficult to appreciate any meaningful impact associated with the expenditure.
“Another worrying trend is the non-utilisation of and accounting, for the full ABFA allocation even though the budgetary amount is disbursed to the ABFA account.
“PIAC’s visits to some projects earmarked to receive petroleum revenue revealed that they have been starved of funds at a time when revenues are reported to be unutilised and unaccounted for,” he said.
The committee also observed that over the years, some International Oil Companies (IOCs) have developed the practice of non-payment and deferred payment of surface rentals which is a source of petroleum revenue stream.
He said the practice undervalues the Ghana Petroleum Holding Fund, and does not comply with the provisions of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA).
Mr Wadzah said although some of these issues have been raised in the Committee’s annual reports over time, it has attracted little or less attention.
“Ten years into oil is an appropriate moment to reflect on how well or otherwise we have done with our oil.
“It is our belief that these issues will receive the needed attention among critical stakeholders. Mindful of the fact that our country’s resource governance is shaped by the thinking of political groupings (parties) and that these issues be given adequate attention in their manifestoes, policies and action steps,” he said.
He added that petroleum was a finite resource; hence, the need for effective governance must not be lost on the country.