Report highlights inefficiencies and impact of authorities’ oil revenue funds’ use


By Ernest Bako WUBONTO

The public is increasingly concerned about development authorities’ (DAs) inability to ensure optimal socio-economic impact from projects funded by oil revenue, particularly as the country’s oil production has declined in recent years.

Currently, the three development authorities – Coastal, Middle Belt and Northern – face a myriad of challenges including political interference, funding constraints, inadequate oversight and the absence of a legislative instrument (LI) among others.

These hurdles have resulted in uncompleted infrastructure projects, underutilised facilities and completed but uncommissioned projects among others, while cash-strapped to forge on with mandate delivery.

In a new report titled ‘Impact Assessment of Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) utilisation by development authorities’, the Centre for Extractives and Development Africa (CEDA) assessed how the three Development Authorities have used ABFA to spur socio-economic development in their respective zones, revealing several key findings.

The report highlighted that after extensive on-site inspections of ABFA-funded projects were conducted, with a total of 30 projects inspected – 10 in each Development Authority, it was found that some completed market store projects were unused due tp unfavourable location while some completed healthcare facilities are not being used as the project scope did not include provision of medical equipment and other installations.

For instance, an ABFA-funded Health Centre constructed in Nsuatre-Bono Region under the Middle Belt DA is not in use because medical equipment is not available. Similarly, 40-unit market stalls and storerooms at Kwamekrom in Apesokubi-Oti Region are not in use because market women find the facility’s location inconvenient.

Executive Director-CEDA, Samuel Bekoe, speaking at the report’s media launch in Accra mentioned that DAs face challenges due to inadequate oversight and operational inefficiencies. The absence of dedicated monitoring funds hampers effective project tracking – leading to delays, underutilisation and poor coordination.

“Addressing these challenges requires enhanced strategic planning, community engagement and inter-agency collaboration. We identified a lack of participation by Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in ABFA-funded projects, indicating a disconnect between local governance structures and development initiatives. This lack of involvement may affect the sustainability and alignment of projects with local needs,” he said.

However, significant impacts of some agricultural and road projects were also recorded. “Road and agricultural projects have the strongest link to socio-economic growth and development. These sectors, being critical to economic activity, have shown substantial immediate benefits while impacts from health and education projects are more long-term,” Mr. Bekoe emphasised.

The report underscores the important socio-economic impact some these ABFA utilised projects have on the local communities, especially those that were implemented efficiently with consultation and involvement of community members.

It mentioned that women have played a significant role in the community development process, actively initiating project discussions. Including women’s perspectives ensures an inclusive approach to project selection, catering to the entire community’s needs.

Over the past decade, the country has strategically leveraged its oil and gas resources to drive inclusive socio-economic development by channeling significant portions of petroleum revenues to support the national budget through the ABFA.

The three Development Authorities were established in 2017 to accelerate economic and social development in their respective zones. Since 2020, DAs have primarily been funded by the ABFA.

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