Major Daniel Sowah Ablorh-Quarcoo (rtd.), Chairman of the committee, told the B&FT that “just a small percentage” of oil revenues could be set aside to fund the work of his outfit.
In 2012, he said, the committee’s budget was GH¢1,053,000 but Government could only provide GH¢150,000, a situation he described as “crippling”. In the same year, petroleum receipts amounted to GH¢979.32million.
“Ours is not a very big secretariat. We are just 13, we do not have a whole ministry…” the chairman told journalists on the sidelines of a stakeholder-conference put together by the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas, on how far the committee has come.
“The whole of last year, our committee members were not paid. We didn’t have enough funds to hire any staff to assist until later in the year when we got two young people to help. We have no secretariat (office) and soon and so forth,” the chairman said. “But for the assistance of international organisations, we could not have worked,” he added.
The Revenue Watch Institute and the German Technical Cooperation have been supporting the work of the committee. Indeed, the committee has been operating from the offices of the Revenue Watch Institute, which is now concerned that it is being accused of interfering in the committee’s work.
Revenue Watch’s Africa Regional Director, Emmanuel Kuyole, said to make PIAC “completely independent,” the country needs to think about how to fund it.
Funding PIAC, he said, should not be tied to the desires of the Ministry of Finance — adding that parliamentarians have a responsibility to make PIAC work.
PIAC is a citizen-based body established under Section 51 of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (Act 815) with a mandate to independently assess the management and use of petroleum revenues, and to provide a platform for members of the public to share their opinion on how petroleum revenues are managed. It is to also monitor and evaluate compliance with the Act by Government and other relevant institutions in the management and use of petroleum revenues.
The committee does this through a semi-annual and an annual report by the 15th September and 15th March each year; and it has since its inauguration on September 15, 2011, published two reports the 2011 annual report and the 2012 semi-annual report.
“That we have been able to survive without resources, to me, is a big achievement. But we have succeeded in creating some enhanced awareness of the roles and responsibilities of the various institutions involved in petroleum management,” the chairman said.
“PIAC is not a fault finding committee. PIAC is just there to ensure that Government does what it sets out to achieve in the interest of the entire country, and also in a very transparent manner,” the chairman told journalists.
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