Stakeholders decry high cost of petroleum funded revenues

By
Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA

Takoradi, Aug. 22,
GNA – The stakeholders at a day’s sensitisation workshop on the utilisation of
the petroleum revenues, have expressed concern about the high cost of projects
funded with the petroleum revenues.

They, therefore,
asked the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) to impress upon
the implementers of those projects, to breakdown the various components of the
expenditure for easy understanding.

The event was
organised by PIAC in Takoradi, which brought together the section of the public
comprising assembly members, traditional rulers, technocrats, youth groups,
women advocates, civil society organisations, the Association of Ghana
Industries (AGI) and the media.

Some development
projects in the Western Region funded with the petroleum revenues comprised the
construction of a six-unit classroom block at Debiso/Essam Senior High School
at the cost of GH¢ 105,253 in 2014, the construction of Aboadze coastal
protection works to protect the Thermal Power Plants at the cost of GH¢ 28,990,890
in 2014 and the construction of the sea defence wall at Ngyiresia at the cost
of GH¢ 35,570, 875 in 2014.

Other projects were
the bitumen surfacing of Shama Town roads at the cost of GH¢772,833 in 2014,
the construction of Enchi-Dadieso road at the cost of GH¢5,021,106, in 2014 and
GH¢3,697,202.45 in 2015 rehabilitation of Juaboso/Akontombra road at the cost
of GH¢1,789,584.66 in 2015, asphalt of roads in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis
in 2014 at the cost of GH¢1, 980,839, the dualisation of Kansawurodo by-pass in
2014 at the cost of GH¢4,599,266.

The participants
also expressed concern about the 11 per cent allocation of petroleum revenues
to the modernisation of agriculture and, thus, described the allocation as
woefully inadequate and called for increase since agriculture is the mainstay
of the country’s economy.

They said the
Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA) should give prosecutory powers to PIAC,
in order to prosecute duty bearers and institutions that misappropriate the
petroleum revenues.

With regards to the
selection of priority areas, the participants suggested that improvement of
health infrastructure should be added to the existing four selected areas.

Osabarima Kwaw
Entsie II, the Paramount Chief of Mpohor and Member of PIAC representing the
National House of Chiefs, briefed the participants on the PIAC report, and
stated that the Committee had made recommendations regarding the utilisation of
the petroleum revenues.

He noted that key
concerns expressed by PIAC included the fact that, so many projects and
national problems were tackled at the same time with the petroleum revenues,
which eventually weakened the potential impact on the citizenry.

PIAC therefore
recommended proper guidelines for selection of priority areas and also identify
legacy projects that could be supported with oil revenues from the Annual
Budget Funding Amount.

PIAC also reiterated
the need to increase allocation to the agriculture sector in view of the
pivotal role it had played over the years in sustaining the local economy, he
stated.

So far, the four
priority areas comprised the development of roads and infrastructure,
amortisation of loans, the modernisation of agriculture and capacity building.

GNA

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