Kumasi — The Anglican Bishop of Kumasi, Rt. Rev. Dr. Yinka-Sarfo, has called for proper, systematic and transparent accounts of oil revenue by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) at least every three months.
He noted that this step would ensure the proper management of petroleum revenue and make the commodity more beneficial to the people, instead of waiting for a whole year, before such accounts are made.
Bishop Yinka-Sarfo was reacting to reports by the committee that the targeted revenue that was made by the Finance Minister in Parliament was not met, due to lack of proper accounting from the GNPC, which he said, affected the economy and the Heritage Fund which is to be preserved for generations unborn.
The report emphasised that some of the money or the revenue goes out secretly, and was not serving the right purpose.
The PIAC was established to monitor and evaluate compliance with the act by the government and other relevant institutions in the management and use of petroleum revenues, and to provide a platform for public debate on spending prospects of petroleum revenues in line with development priorities, and also provide an independent assessment on the management and use of revenues, mandated by the law to publish a semi-annual and annual report in compliance with Act 815.
But, Bishop Yinka-Sarfo, who is also the chairman of the local churches in the Kumasi metropolis, in making the recommendation at the 2nd public meeting of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), said the oil find was a spiritual revelation and a gift from God to the nation, as all the religious bodies prayed and fasted before it was found, and must be properly managed.
He cautioned that if it not properly accounted for and managed well, it could vanish, and pointed to why its quantity was reportedly reducing of late. The Anglican prelate further urged the government to resource the committee, and all the organisations involved to be up and doing in the management of the oil.
Dr. Kwaku Agyeman-Mensah, Ashanti Regional Minister, said the one major challenge facing most oil producing countries in Africa has been the inability of those countries to effectively harness oil and gas revenues for the country's economic growth, often resulting in civil unrests, conflicts, poverty and unstable political conditions.
He said Ghana, as a new entrant in the league of oil producing countries, is therefore, placed in a better position to learn from the experiences and best practices of other countries.
The Minister further noted that the discovery of the oil and gas in the country in commercial quantities had brought to the fore some challenges, and mentioned some as managing oil and gas revenue judiciously for the overall benefit and welfare of all Ghanaians, including future generations; Protection of the environment in the exploitation of the oil resources to ensure sustainability; Strengthen the regulatory agencies for the regulation of all activities related to upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas industry; Ensuring maximum participation of Ghanaians in petroleum activities, and Ensuring security for oil and gas installations and operations.
Dr. Agyeman-Mensah also said that the enactment of key legislations such as the Petroleum Revenue Management Act 2011 Act 815, to provide defined guidelines for managing revenues emanating from the oil and gas sector, was vital to the actualisation of national goals and aspirations regarding the use of the hydro carbon resource.
He also indicated that as an oversight body, the committee complements the work of other constitutionally mandated bodies such as Parliament, and provides clearly defined guidelines for managing revenues from the oil and gas sector.
The Regional Minister further indicated that the PIAC had the responsibility to commit the bulk of oil revenues to a shared growth fund to finance investments in human resource development and other productive sectors such as road, infrastructure, health, education, and agriculture among others.