The Public Interest and Accountability Committee to serve as an independent committee to monitor the use and management of oil revenues has been inaugurated by the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Kwabena Duffour.
The 13-member committee is in line with the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 2011(Act 815) which spells out three main objectives for the committee to monitor and evaluate compliance with the Act in the management of petroleum revenues.
Membership of the committee comprises a representative from an independent policy think tank nominated by the think tanks, a representative from civil society and community-based organizations and a member each nominated from 11 other identifiable civil society bodies, religious groups and private sector associations.
The committee will also provide the platform for public discourse on whether the spending and the management of petroleum revenue conform to development priorities spelt out in the act and provide an independent assessment on the use of the revenues.
The committee which will elect its chairperson at its inaugural meeting is made up of Dr. Michael Ofori-Mensah, representing independent policy think tanks ; Mr. Ishmael Edjekumhene, representing civil society and community based organizations; Mr. Kwabena Nyarko-Otu, representing the Trades Union Congress, and Osabarima Kwesi Atta II, the Oguaahen and representative of the National House of Chiefs.
Others are Naa Ayeikailey Nanobeng I, representing the Association of Queen Mothers; Mr. Douglas Boateng, the Association of Ghana Industries and the Chamber of Commerce; Mr. Owusu Addo, the Ghana Journalists Association; Mr. Kwame Adjei-Gyan, the Ghana Bar Association, and Major Daniel Sowa Ablorh-Quarcoo, the Institute of Chartered Accountants.
The rest are Mr. Franklin Ashiadey, representing the Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative; Mrs. Angela Peasah, Christian groups; Hajj Muhammed Kpakpo Addo, the Federation of Muslim Councils and Ahmadiyya Missions and Professor Ivan Addae-Mensah, the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Although the law mandates the Finance Minister to set-up the committee, it unmistakably delineates how to constitute the committee, thereby leaving little or no room for packing it with cronies, party faithfuls or people sympathetic to a particular government in the driving seat.
“You are an independent body carved out of good governance principles to provide an independent assessment of how petroleum revenues will be managed and used in the country,” Dr. Duffour said at the inauguration in Accra.
He said if the committee played its role well, it would be very influential in guiding the use of petroleum revenue to ensure that after several years, generations would be enjoying the benefits of the “natural resource blessing, even when the resource itself is depleted.”
The finance Minister gave the assurance that the necessary logistics would be provided for the committee to function effectively and that the inauguration was just the first step