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PIAC uncovers misuse of oil revenue in northern Ghana

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    Public-Interest-and-Accountability-Committee-PIAC-Jobs-in-GhanaManagers of the nation’s oil revenue should rethink about the mode of selection and funding of projects with the oil income. They also have to intensify their monitoring and supervision of all oil revenue funded projects spread across the country.

    It is mind-boggling discovering that oil revenue meant for funding some earmarked projects has either been misused or diverted without accountability. For instance, a sum of Ghc15, 000 allocated for the rehabilitation and creation of canals around the Nakore dam in the Wa Municipality is missing.

    The project has not been executed as captured in the PIAC’s 2014 annual report on the oil revenue management.

    Also, a supposed six-unit classroom block project at the Farikiya Islamic Institute, valued at Ghc20.000, as captured in the PIAC 2015 report, could not be traced.A team led by the PIAC Chairman, Professor P.K Buah Bassuah, uncovered these financial misappropriations during a five-day field visit to the three regions of the north.

    The visit was in line with the PIAC’s objective of deepening social auditing and accountability on the oil revenue management.

    Poverty and politics

    The three regions of the north have since time immemorial produced some of the best scholars and politicians, and majority of them have decided to settle and invest in southern Ghana.

    They have continued to exploit the locals before and during elections, and abandon them afterwards.

    Schools under trees, bad road network, youth unemployment, seasonal farming and inadequate irrigation facilities are some of the major challenges.

    Poverty remains a major socio-economic issue affecting people living in the savannah ecological zone.

    Successive government’s implementation of pro-poor programmes including the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), have failed to alleviate the plight of the suffering masses.

    The sharp decline in agriculture which serves as the economic mainstay of rural dwellers has aggravated the situation.

    Erratic rainfall, smallholder farmer groups’ inability to access and afford farm implements needed to shift from subsistence to agribusiness, have contributed to poor yields.

    Food scarcity coupled with high prices of imported food produce, has thwarted attempts to combat malnutrition which is widespread in the three regions of the north.

    Public fora

    The Public Interest and Accountability Committee’s (PIAC) team alongside the field visits, organized public fora at the Bolgatanga Catholic Social Centre and at the Wa Upland Hotel.

    The PIAC Chairman, who doubles as a representative of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS), Professor P.K. Buah-Bassuah, gave an overview of the PIAC’s 2015 Annual report.

    As the 9th edition, the comprehensive report was sponsored by a German development partner called GIZ.

    Professor Bassuah hinted of the oil revenue managers’ determination to allocate a chunk of the revenue for the three regions of the north, during the 2016 disbursement season.

    They recommended that the Heritage Fund should be converted into what preferably should be known as Heritage Projects.

    They renewed calls for the construction of a railway from Accra to the Ghana-Burkina Faso border in Paga. This in their estimation could open the frontiers between northern and southern Ghana, as a means of attracting investors.

    They impressed upon government to completely eliminate schools under trees which is prevalent in the three regions of the north, with an increasing population of school dropouts.

    Sir. Robert Ajene, who initiated the establishment of the Bolgatanga Polytechnic, attributed Ghana’s underdevelopment to the misuse of the nation’s natural resources.
    The retired educationist suggested that, Ghana as a sovereign state should develop its own peer review mechanism.

    This, he noted, could serve as a catalyst to prioritize the nation’s development agenda.

    Sir. Robert Ajene condemned the politicization of every sector of the economy and called for an immediate paradigm shift.

    Field visits/Project sites

    Upper East Region

    The team inspected an ongoing two-storey boy’s dormitory block at the Zebila Secondary/Technical School in the Upper East Region.

    Upper West Region

    Though unimpressed about the abandoned Nakore dam in the Wa Municipality, the team was satisfied with the construction of a wall protecting the Duuri dam.

    The team visited the St. Francis Girls Senior High School in Jirapa where a modern Science Resource Centre funded with the oil revenue is under construction.

    Northern Region

    The team climaxed the five-day field visit in the Northern Region, where the oil the revenue is funding the upgrading of electrical energy supply at the Bagabaga College of Education campus.

    Conclusion:

    It emerged that rural dwellers’ livelihood in the three regions of the north, is largely dependent on donor partners’ interventions.

    These include Star Ghana, USAID, IFAD, ISODEC, Action Aid Ghana, `RING, MADE and School for life.

    Central government should therefore quicken its pace to bridge the yawning developmental disparities between southern and northern Ghana.

    – See more at: http://citifmonline.com/2016/07/24/piac-uncovers-misuse-of-oil-revenue-in-northern-ghana/#sthash.S2Mwc9EH.dpuf

     

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