Business News of Tuesday, 10 April 2018
Half of developmental projects funded with oil revenue from the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) in the three Northern Regions do not exist, a report on 2017 project inspections by the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) has revealed.
The exercise, which was undertaken last year by the PIAC, was in line with its mandate of monitoring and evaluating compliance with the PRMA in the management of petroleum revenues, and conducting independent assessments of the management and use of these revenues.
In all, six projects were inspected in the Upper East, Upper West and Northern Region.
According to PIAC, the “overwhelming” findings and observations of the 50% non-existent project came as a result of the Committee’s interactions with citizens during their district engagements in 60 districts in 2016.
PIAC revealed that concerns were raised as to whether the investigative body verifies projects which have been reported by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to have been undertaken with petroleum revenue.
Speaking at a press conference in Accra, PIAC Chairman, Dr. Steve Manteaw, reiterated that the concerns raised triggered the conviction of the Committee about the need for an expanded scale of these inspections.
He informed press men that there have been delays in the executions of some projects, particularly roads, which have resulted in substantial cost variations running into millions of cedis.
“Deeply concerned” about the paltry sums allocated to some key projects, Dr Manteaw stated that “the amount did not contribute significantly to the total cost of these projects.”
Dr. Steve Mnateaw disclosed that although an amount of GHC15, 970 had been allocated for the rehabilitation of the Nakori Dam in the Wa Municipality of the Upper West Region, work had not been done when the team visited the site in 2016.
Another was the case of the Fomena town roads despite the allocation of GHC15, 323 to finance the project.
Meanwhile, a 2013 report on the management of Petroleum revenues by PIAC, stated that an amount of GH¢372.07 million out of the GH¢543.78 million of the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) representing 68.42 percent was spent on roads and other infrastructure.
The report further said the remaining GH¢287.20 million representing 35 percent of the ABFA allocation was spent on several infrastructural sectors including energy, education, water, housing, security and health.
Explaining the situation to www.ghanaweb.com, Dr. Steve Manteaw said, “On these visits we discovered to our dismay that about half of the projects that we inspected were either non-existent or poorly executed.”
In the case of “shoddy jobs that we uncovered, they are deteriorating. In some cases, less than a year into the completion of those projects. A particular case is the St Francis Senior High School which benefited from some oil revenue for the rehabilitation of its Science Resource Center. At the time of our visit we realised the Science Resource Center was in bad shape barely a year into its completion.”
Dr Manteaw said the reasons for these non-existent and poorly executed projects were due to the lack of supervision adding that the Regional administration and the District Assembly were unaware that their region/districts were beneficiaries of the ABFA.
The PIAC, therefore, recommended that the “selection of projects, especially the sub-national projects are aligned with the medium term development priorities as spelt out in the district plans to help better prioritize the selection of projects. We also are recommending that the beneficiary districts are also involved in the selection awards and implementation of the projects to make for better supervision and execution.”
“We also asking for a halt to the co-mingling of petroleum revenues with other funds – if possible. If that is not possible, then we’d wish that the percentage contribution of the petroleum funds of the projects will be stated and sign post mounted by the projects to give indication as to how much the petroleum funds are being used to complete the projects,” Dr Manteaw stressed.