The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), Ghana’s petroleum revenue watchdog, has reiterated the need for a long-term national development plan to guide the spending of petroleum revenues.
The committee said the current practice allows for ministerial discretion in the selection of priority areas to spend petroleum revenues.
For instance, it said the new priority areas selected for Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) disbursement in 2020–2022 were not presented to Parliament for approval in the 2020 budget statement, as required by the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA).
The Ministry of Finance should ensure that priority areas selected are approved by Parliament before implementation, as required by Section 21 (5) of the PRMA,” PIAC said.
The PRMA provides for spending of petroleum revenues to be guided by a long-term development plan. However, the country is yet to develop such a plan, and the selection of ABFA priority spending areas has been insufficiently connected to a long-term strategy, the watchdog stated.
At the launch of the 2020 annual report of PIAC in April, its Chairman, Prof. Kwame Adom-Frimpong, argued that successive ministers of finance have selected ABFA priority spending areas based on their discretion.
A strategic long-term national development plan, according to PIAC, will help make ABFA spending more transparent and ensure that projects funded by the ABFA are in line with national priorities.