Oil revenue not equally distributed – PIAC Report

A study by the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) has shown that revenue accrued from Ghana’s Jubilee fields was not evenly distributed among the regions in the country.

This implies that the Petroleum Revenue Manangement Act, which mandates the equal distribution of the oil revenue has not been adhered to. This was revealed by Friends of the Nation, a civil society organization based in the Western Region.

A recent report released by PIAC indicated that over $700 million was channeled into the Ghana’s Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) from 2011 to 2013. According to the CSO, PIAC’s 2013 report showed that while some regions received over 15 percent of the ABFA, others received a paltry one percent.

The CSO argued that Section 24, of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act stipulates that “the Annual Budget Funding amount should be used to maximize the rate of economic development, promote equality of economic opportunities with the view of ensuring the well being of citizens and undertake even and balance development of the ten regions in Ghana, guided by a medium term expenditure framework, align with a long term development agenda.”

The Extractive programs officer at Friends of the Nation, Solomon Kusi observed that “If you take the gas capitalization from it, the Western Region received 12 percent the Ashanti Region received 18 percent, Volta Region 12 percent, and the Greater Accra Region received 17 percent.

The Eastern Region received 17 percent, while the Upper East Region received 5 percent, the Upper East received 1 percent, Northern Region received 5 percent, Central Region was given 5 percent and the Brong Ahafo Region received 7 percent”.

He insisted that “if you compare it with what the law says then you see there have not been even and balanced distribution of the Annual Budget Funding Amount.”

He said the report also indicated that some 67 percent of the total revenue channeled into the country’s ABFA was spent on some 118 counterpart funding road projects “which does not ensure value for money.”

He said the report also revealed gross mismanagement of monies meant for capacity building for some ministries, department and agencies.

“For instance 17 percent of the capacity building monies were spent by the ministries of Food and Agriculture and the Lands and Natural resources and NADMO on consumables, we have GH¢ 2million going to support the creative industry, GH 8.1 million as cash transfer under LEAP, GH¢35million to MASLOC, GH¢19 million as venture capital etc and all these monies were supposed to be used for capacity building of Ghanaians for the Oil and Gas sector,” Mr. Kusi added.

Friends of the Nation however suggested that a national needs assessment should be carried out or the national development plan fast tracked to direct the path of spending for the Annual Budget Funding Amount.

“What are our priorities as a nation even under the phase II of the Ghana Shared Growth Development Agenda? And is that how it says the oil and gas revenue should be used? That is why there is the need for a National Development Plan,” he stressed.

source : citifmonline.com