Prof John Asafu-Ajaye
The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has called for the speedy passage of the Right to Information Bill (RTI) and the Petroleum Exploration and Production Bill, among others, to improve the institutional environment of some key aspects of the management of Ghana’s oil and gas revenues.
Prof John Asafu-Ajaye, a Visiting Fellow at IEA, who made the call in Accra, was delivering a report on the Petroleum Transparency & Accountability (P-TRAC) Index 2015 yesterday.
The index focuses on four key aspects namely, revenue transparency, expenditure transparency, contract transparency and the Ghana Petroleum Funds (GPFs).
The IEA recommended that Parliament should give serious consideration to the Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Bill, the Local Content and Local Participation Bill and the Marine Pollution Bill, adding that passage of the bills will greatly enhance the level of transparency and accountability not only in the oil and gas sector but other resource industries.
‘We also advocate speedy passage of the Budget Act to enhance Parliament’s ability to conduct comprehensive analysis of the budget.
The IEA also recommended the formation of a committee with representation from all major stakeholders to work with the Minister of Finance in selecting projects for funding under the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA).
Additionally, it called for a more open and transparent process of awarding contracts and licences, with more public disclosure of information about the process.
‘In particular, we advocate a points-based system for assessing licences and the award of contracts.
‘Oversight bodies such Parliamentary Committees i.e. Public Accounts Committee and the Select Committee on Minerals and Energy and also the Public Interest and Accountability Committee must be adequately resourced to enable them function more effectively in their respective roles.’
Commenting on revenue transparency, the IEA stated: ‘We have observed steady progress in efforts to improve revenue transparency over the previous two reports. The main improvements have come from the frequency and availability of reports. However, we did not find any improvement in the quality of reports.’
Further calling for an improvement in the frequency of the reports, it mentioned, ‘We found no change in the quality of the reports. We also observed improvement in our projects sub-index, which tracks progress in the allocation of funds and distributions of projects under the ABFA.’
It therefore called for a long-term development plan for Ghana, so that decisions on expenditure in the priority areas would be followed religiously to attain the desired economic impact.
By Samuel Boadi
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