Political parties in Ghana have unanimously kicked against moves to abolish or for the government to start using the Heritage Fund.
The Heritage Fund is strategic endowment reserve set up to “support the development for future generations when Ghana’s petroleum reserves have been depleted”, according to the Petroleum Revenue Management Act of 2011.
The fund receives nine per cent of the country’s annual petroleum revenue. The Petroleum Act also provides that 21 per cent of annual oil revenues should go into a Stabilisation Fund- to support the economy in dire times – while 70 per cent should be used to support the budget.
The Founder and Executive Director of IMANI Center for Policy & Education, Franklin Cudjoe, and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah, have suggested that the government should use the Fund for infrastructural projects, only if it can manage the fund prudently.
However, speaking at an Oil and Gas Forum in Accra on Friday to solicit the views of political parties on happenings in the extractive sector, the political parties said the idea behind the setting up of the Fund is laudable hence must be maintained.
“We uphold it. However, it is important to see the returns we are getting on the savings for the future,” New Patriotic Party’s Kwaku Kwarteng said.
“I think we also owe it a duty to future generations to ensure what we are saving for them is yielding adequate returns. We need to take a close look at the current situation and know why returns on money in the Heritage Fund is so low; sometimes 2.5% -3% at a time we are borrowing on the international market at 10.75%.
“We think this is irregular and what we would do is to look at the money in the Heritage Fund and how to maximize the return on it.”
The forum was organized by the Natural Resource Governance Institute.