PIAC laments lack of funding to monitor use of oil revenue

Friday, 17 July 2015 20:05
Finance Minister Seth Terkper Finance Minister Seth Terkper

The Public Interest and Accountability Committee,  PIAC, says it is struggling to operate effectively due to financial constraints. The committee in its 2013 report, revealed that it has not been able to work for the past six months due to financial challenges.

Member of Parliament for Ablekuma Central, Theophanous Tetteh Chaie, is thus urging the Finance Ministry to release funds for the committee to be efficient.

The Public Interest and Accountability Committee,  PIAC, was inaugurated when Ghana started oil production in 2010. Among other things, it is mandated to oversee the use of revenue accrued from Ghana's petroleum resources.

For the greater part of 2013, PIAC, operated without funding, and as a result, committee members were not remunerated and operations came to  a halt for about six months.

"This is the only institution we have that needs to educate the public. Consistently the finance ministry has not been able to finance the committee. Per the reports that we have, Government is really using the money for the good intentions but if the people are not informed people will take information elsewhere and that will not be good for the country".

The funding challenges forced PIAC to hold only one public meeting in the Volta Region throughout  2013, leaving out the rest of the 9 regions who are also mandated to know how proceeds from Ghana's oil are being utilized.

The Finance Ministry in  the year under review failed to release monies allocated to PIAC.

"2.5% of the oil revenue was allocated for agric; we had 68.4% allocated to the road and other infrastructural development in the country; 25.4% went into servicing loans and then capacity building alone 3.7% which is more than what was given to the agricultural sector" said Theophanous Tetteh Chaie, MP for Ablekuma Central.

Total petroleum revenues in 2013 was  over 1.6 billion cedis  bringing cumulative revenue received since 2011 to  3.291 billion cedis.

Actual petroleum revenue exceeded projected revenues by nearly 46 percent.

6,793,449 barrels of crude oil representing 19.09 percent of total production, was lifted by the Ghana group in the same year.

PIAC's Mandate

The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) was established under Section 51 of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (Act 815).

It's objectives include monitoring and evaluating compliance with the Act by the Government and other relevant institutions in the management and use of petroleum revenues.

Providing a platform for public debate on spending prospects of petroleum revenues in line with development priorities and providing an independent assessment on the management and use of revenues.

The Committee is mandated by the law to publish a semi-annual and an annual report by the 15th September and 15th March each year.

This report issued in compliance with Act 815 contains the findings and recommendations of the Committee based on its assessment of the management of petroleum revenues in 2012.

By:tv3network.com/Ghana