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Use oil revenue for intended purpose – CeSIS tells Govt

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    Environmental civil society organisation, Centre for Social Impact Studies (CeSIS) has expressed qualms about the use of oil revenue for purposes other than those it is intended for.

    In a statement to respond to the release of the third annual report of the Public Interest Accountability Committee (PIAC), which was established under the Petroleum Revenue Management Act to provide a public oversight concerning Ghana’s oil and gas industry, CeSIS said the Government’s use of oil revenue for just about anything was “worrying”.

    “Petroleum revenues present government with an additional source of funding to execute different development agenda. But it is becoming increasingly clear that some of the items of expenditure to which we commit petroleum funds leave much to be desired,” CeSIS said in a statement signed by Executive Director Richard Ellimah.

    “For example, between 2011 and 2013 about 23 million cedis was spent on the procurement of goods and services for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO),” the group cited.

    “Additionally 2 million cedis was used to support the creative industry. While admittedly these expenditures are all towards national development, CeSIS is nevertheless worried about a creeping perception that petroleum revenues are “free monies” that should be allocated to any sector of the Ghanaian society,” the statement warned.

    It also called for more financial support for PIAC from the Government. “In the face of mounting corruption allegations and concerns over misuse of petroleum revenue it is imperative that PIAC is strengthened to perform its oversight role well.”

    Below is the statement from Centre for Social Impact Studies:

    We wish to raise the following issues:

    1. It is disappointing that government support for PIAC is still not forthcoming. Since its establishment the Committee has been supported by international organisations like Natural Resource Governance Institute which housed the Committee until recently; and GIZ which has been funding the publication of the Committee’s reports.

    It is unacceptable for government to shirk its responsibility to these international organisations. In the face of mounting corruption allegations and concerns over misuse of petroleum revenue it is imperative that PIAC is strengthened to perform its oversight role well.

    2. Another worrying revelation in the PIAC reports over the years has been the quality of spending of petroleum revenues. Petroleum revenues present government with an additional source of funding to execute different development agenda. But it is becoming increasingly clear that some of the items of expenditure to which we commit petroleum funds leave much to be desired.

    For example, between 2011 and 2013 about 23 million cedis was spent on the procurement of goods and services for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO).

    Additionally 2 million cedis was used to support the creative industry. While admittedly these expenditures are all towards national development, CeSIS is nevertheless worried about a creeping perception that petroleum revenues are “free monies” that should be allocated to any sector of the Ghanaian society.

    We recommend an amendment of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act that outlines as many as 14 priority areas for petroleum revenue to be expended. Considering that petroleum resources are finite, revenues from the sector should be concentrated on not more than three priority sectors so that other areas can be taken care of through the regular budgeting process.

    3. Finally, the PIAC report reveals an incredibly distorted view of what constitutes capacity building. According to the report, petroleum revenues were expended on the creative industry, NADMO, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.

    CeSIS believes spending on capacity building should be restricted to three areas:

    a. Support to regulatory agencies like EPA and Petroleum Commission to undertake specialised training in oil and gas regulation so that they can properly regulate the sector.

    b. Provision of equipments and modern machinery to the regulatory bodies to enable them regulate the sector

    c. Training of a corps of young Ghanaians in oil and gas so that over a period of time they will be in a position to capture the key managerial positions in the oil and gas industry.

    Similarly there should be support to students who want to undertake specialised vocational skills related to the oil and gas industry.

    Signed: Richard Ellimah, Executive Director of Centre for Social Impact Studies

    Source :http://www.starrfmonline.com/1.3426227

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