Members of Ghana’s Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), the statutory body with oversight responsibility of the management and use of the country’s petroleum revenues inspected projects that have received funding from the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA).
The ABFA is the account set up by government to receive allocation from oil and gas revenues in support of government national budgets.
The inspection exercise which took place simultaneously in the Western North and North East regions from Sunday, 24 to Friday, 29 April, 2022 also afforded the members of the Committee to engage the public on issues relating to the management and utilisation of the country’s oil and gas resources.
In the Western North Region, the Committee inspected the construction of a 3-storey Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) Administration Block in Sefwi Wiawso, construction of three Senior Staff Bungalows at Sefwi Wiawso and a rural market in Amoaya in the Bodi Constituency.
The construction of the RCC building received GH₵10,591,533.09 from the ABFA in 2020 and 2021.
During the visit, the Committee found that the building had been completed, commissioned, and in use. Members were generally of the view that the project had been well executed.
The senior staff bungalows received a total of GH₵1,779,660 from the ABFA in 2020 was reported to be 90 percent complete with bungalows erected and roofed, internal finishing virtually completed, and external works ongoing.
At the time of the Committee’s visit, the project was found to have reached the reported stage of completion and work done was satisfactory. The Committee looks forward to the expeditious completion of the project for use by RCC.
The rural market, situated in Amoaya, received GH₵107,327.70 from the ABFA in 2020, but work had stalled due to the delay in the release of funds by government.
Members of the Committee were however informed that the District Assembly was exploring other options to get the market fully constructed for use by the community.
The Committee recommended that government should disburse funds for speedy completion of the project to serve the community as the project was executed at the request of the Assembly.
In the North East Region, PIAC together with officials of the East Mamprusi Municipal Assembly and RCC, inspected a 1,000-metric tonne warehouse with ancillary facilities at Gambaga, which had received GH₵1,330,932.11 from the ABFA in 2019 and 2020. Although the facility was commissioned in 2021, it became operational in 2022.
The Committee recommended the execution of more of such projects and the installation of adequate systems and equipment for effective operation of the facility.
The upgrading of the Nalerigu – Gbintri road, which had been allocated GH₵20,000,000 from the ABFA in 2020, was also inspected by the PIAC Team and officials of the Ghana Highway Authority.
Outstanding works include clearing and road widening works on some sections, with earthworks and culvert works ongoing.
The 40-km road spans over 15 communities, and when completed would ease transportation within these communities. The physical progress of the project stands at about 32 percent. Work done was assessed to be satisfactory.
The third project inspected by the Committee in the company of officials of the RCC was the construction of a 3-Storey Administration Block for the Council, located in Nalerigu.
Construction commenced in 2019, and the project was expected to have been completed in 2021. Outstanding works include painting, tiling, electricals, and furnishing.
A total of GH₵8,604,336.59 from the ABFA went into financing the project in 2020 and 2021, with the project currently at a physical completion stage of 78 percent.
The Committee recommended the timely completion of the project to end the continuous rental of office by RCC.
In both Regions, the Committee held regional public fora on the 2021 PIAC Annual Report, which brought together stakeholders from the traditional council, religious groups, security agencies, traders, educational institutions, among others to deliberate on the management and use of petroleum revenues.
One of the issues raised was the fact that most participants were unaware of projects funded with ABFA. The participants also called for more projects to be executed with petroleum revenues.
The Committee recommended the labelling of ABFA-funded projects for identification.
As part of activities in both regions, the Committee carried out a monitoring of the implementation of the Free Senior High School policy in selected schools, and engaged students and faculty of the following educational institutions:
Gambaga College of Education, Nalerigu College of Nursing and Midwifery both in the North East Region, University for Development Studies- Nyankpala in the Northern Region, and the Wiawso College of Education in the Western North Region.
Tertiary students advocated that petroleum revenues should fund infrastructure and policies to enhance tertiary education.
PIAC reiterated its commitment to carrying out its mandate to ensure the prudent management and use of petroleum revenues in Ghana.
PIAC has over the years embarked on its statutory activities which include engaging the public and inspecting projects that have received funding from the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA).
The public engagement is in line with the second mandate of PIAC, which is to provide space and platform for the public to debate on whether spending prospects and management and use of revenues conform to development priorities.
PIAC also carries out inspections on projects that have received funding from the ABFA in line with its third mandate, which is to provide independent assessment on the management and use of petroleum revenues to assist Parliament and the Executive in the oversight and the performance of related functions.
The inspection is to verify the existence and progress of the projects, and assess their usefulness to the community, if completed.