The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) has expressed worry over the whereabouts of petroleum cash given to organisations like the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), Venture Capital Trust Fund, and Exim Guarantee Fund.
In its Composite Report on District Engagements and Project Inspections, covering the period 2011 to 2016, PIAC said it was not clear whether petroleum proceeds allocated to these ‘loanable’ funds had been refunded.
These loanable funds were recapitalised under the Capacity Building priority area – one of the four areas under which the Petroleum Revenue Management Act 815 allows government to spend petroleum revenues.
“Additionally, the priority area under Capacity Building was used to support almost everything under education – replacing the statutory responsibilities of GETFund – and to support the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGHA),” said the report.
Speaking at Tuesday’s launch of the Composite Report in Accra, Chairman of PIAC Dr. Steve Manteaw noted that – stemming from the fact that petroleum revenues are spread thinly across many projects – there is worry over the resulting impact of these petroleum revenues on the local and national economies.
According to him, the majority of citizens PIAC engaged urged it to recommend speedy adoption of a long-term national development plan to guide utilisation of the revenues from petroleum.
A general observation PIAC made in its inspections and public engagement was the lack of involvement and coordination between the Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) and the District Assemblies in the selection and implementation of ABFA-funded projects undertaken in their respective jurisdictions.
Some of the participants, who took part in the various fora held by PIAC teams across the country, queried the criteria for selection of petroleum-funded projects in their communities as most of the selected projects were not priority ones at the time.
“They recommended that the District Assemblies be actively involved in the selection and implementation of projects in their jurisdictions to ensure projects are priority
projects and in line with the medium-term development plans of the assemblies. This would also ensure effective supervision of the projects by the assemblies to prevent abandonment of sites or shoddy work done by contractors,” Dr. Manteaw said.
PIAC, in an effort to give meaning to its mandate on compliance monitoring – and in response to demands by citizens to verify the existence and quality of projects funded with the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) – undertook physical monitoring of about forty ABFA projects across the country.
This exercise, according to PIAC, was aimed at gathering and obtaining first-hand information on the quality and impact of projects funded with petroleum revenues at the sub-national levels.