Participants at a day’s forum in the two upper regions of Ghana have urged the government to devote proceeds generated from oil to develop the railway sector across the country
Speaking at the 9th and 10th Public Meeting of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) on the management of oil revenues in Bolgatanga and Wa respectively, participants expressed their resentment at the criteria used in the allocation and disbursement of oil revenues to the various regions across the country.
The development, according to them has resulted in a situation where some regions had more projects than others.
A participant in the Upper East Regional capital said, “Government should put in place a systematic plan to use the oil money to develop the rail infrastructure across the country. This will help improve transportation as well as boost economic activities.
People across the country are saying they have not seen what the government has done with our oil money. I believe by using all our oil revenues to developing the rail sector will come along with some tangible things that people can see and relate to. ”
Chairman for PIAC, Prof. Paul Kingsley Buah-Bassuah assured the people his outfit will present concerns of the people to the government.
Ghana began commercial production of oil in November 2010 and according to the PIAC’s annual report on the management of petroleum revenues for the year 2015, total revenue received by the government from the petroleum sector is 3.208 billion dollars.
Out of this amount, a total of 1,428.76 million dollars representing 44 percent has been transferred to the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA), 968.81 million dollars representing 30 percent has been given to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).
Also, a total of 604.32 million dollars representing 18 percent has been transferred to the Ghana Stabilization Fund (GSF) while the Ghana Heritage Fund (GHF) has received 249.92 million dollars representing 18 percent.
In 2015, a total amount of GH¢1,086.28 million or 292.98 million dollars was allocated to the ABFA as compared to the GH¢1,215 million or 409 million dollars.
Of the 2015 figure, the government spent 39 percent on expenditure on amortization of loans for oil and gas infrastructure, 42 percent on roads and other infrastructure, 5.30 percent on agriculture modernization and the remaining 12.64 percent on capacity building (including oil and gas).
PIAC is established under Section 51 of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA), 2011 Act 815 to, provide an independent oversight over the collection, allocation and utilization of Ghana’s petroleum revenues.
PIAC as an accountability institution has the following objectives as outlined under the PRMA including to monitor and evaluate compliance with the Act by government and relevant institutions in the management and use of petroleum revenue and investments.
The rest are to provide space and platform for the public to debate on whether spending prospects and management and use of revenues conform to development priorities as provided under section 21 and also to provide an independent assessment on the management and use of petroleum revenues to assist Parliament and the Executive in the oversight and performance of related functions.
The purpose of the two fora was to consult, engage and inform citizens of the Upper West and Upper East Regions on how the government managed its petroleum revenues in 2015. Enditem.
Source: Francis Tandoh, Bolgatanga & Wa/NewsGhana.com.gh