THE Representative of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) on the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), Mr Eric Keyman Defor, has reiterated the need for government to champion the formulation and implementation of a non-partisan National Development Plan.
Speaking at an engagement with members of the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists on the 2020 PIAC Annual Report, he said the plan would help the country to monitor the progress it is making in the framework of development.
This is clearly stipulated the section 21(2)(d) of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act 2011, (Act 815) as amended by Act 893 to guide the spending of petroleum revenues. The current practice only permits for ministerial discretion in the selection of the priority areas.
The need for a National Development Plan is an undisputable requirement that would lead to proper alignment and the full utilisation of the countries resources including funds generated from the oil revenue. Its absence is seemingly making it difficult for government to properly align petroleum revenue.
The Committee has constantly stated its position clearly that the Development Plan was needed to maximise the benefit of oil money but little or no action has been clearly been undertaking on that.
In the absence of the National Development Plan, Mr Defor has called on government to focus on long term and sustainable monumental projects like the Terminal 3 of the Kotoka International Airport is a perfect example of such projects, which was 12 per cent (USD 30m) supported by oil money.
He explained that projects of such nature have more sustainable impacts on the economy going forward since it’s a revenue generating venture. Mr Defor added that there was the need for the country to also develop strategies to wean off oil revenue in the budget cycles since it’s a finite resource so that in the event that it stops flowing, the nation would not found wanting.
He said government development programmes especially those implemented with oil revenue should be geared towards providing a solid base for the private sector to ride on to create jobs for the teeming youth into the future since the private sector was touted to be the engine of growth. “For instance, since there is a housing deficit, can the government use oil revenue to service some lands and give it to real estate developers to just build so it becomes affordable for the citizenry?” Mr Defor asked.
Additionally, he said it is important for the country to start preparation for a transition from hydrocarbon resource to renewables because if we kept doing the same thing without any preparation towards the future, the country would be found wanting when the hydrocarbons depletes.
The Committee consists of thirteen member, and a supporting secretariat headed by a Coordinator with the mandate to track the use of the revenue generated from the country’s hydrocarbon deposits, making it accessible to the citizenry towards ensuring accountability.
PIAC is celebrating 10years of existence this 2021 and has outlined a number of activities to increase knowledge of its presence and activities. Activities outlined for the commemoration include but not limited to open discussions, radio and television discussions, regional and town hall meetings, symposium with reporting institutions, and public lectures among others.