PIAC to engage Special Prosecutor over expenditure of oil money

The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) will soon hold a meeting with Mr. Martin Amidu, the Special Prosecutor (SP), over the disbursement of revenue accruing from oil resources, Dr. Steve Manteaw, Chairman of the Committee, has disclosed.

He said the meeting will focus on the need for collaboration between PIAC and the SP to strictly monitor the utilisation of petroleum revenue and possibly prosecute persons found culpable of misappropriation.

Dr. Manteaw was speaking at an Ashanti Regional public forum on the management of Ghana’s petroleum revenue for 2017, in Kumasi.

The forum was attended by key stakeholders such as representatives of various assemblies, religious bodies, civil society organisations (NGOs), traditional authorities and the media, and was to provide a platform for participants to discuss and make inputs into the management and disbursement of petroleum revenue.

He said PIAC is committed to monitoring and evaluating compliance of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA) by government and relevant institutions in the management and usage of petroleum resources and investments, to safeguard the country’s petroleum resources.

He said not all the allocations made to the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) for 2017 was utilised even though the entire amount had been budgeted, suggesting that there was no compliance on the part of the Ministry of Finance.

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He therefore urged Parliament to take steps to impress on that ministry to comply with the budget as approved.

Dr. Manteaw underlined the need for all unspent ABFA allocations in a particular financial year to be returned to the Petroleum Holding fund to ensure accountability; and he expressed worry about the excessive use of oil revenue on recurrent expenditure rather than investment in capital projects.

Dr. Manteaw hinted that all the allocations to education priority areas went into recurrent expenditure, with 97 percent being spent on the free senior high school policy while the remaining three percent catered for scholarships.

Petroleum revenues, according to him, had been used to tackle too many national problems at the same time – a situation that weakens potential impacts of the resource on the socio-economic development of Ghana, and PIAC is of the view that only a few legacy projects should be identified and supported by the ABFA.

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