Citizens must see tangible funded oil projects – Report

By Charles Chedar, GNA

Wa (U/W), Oct. 24, GNA – The Annual Budget
Funding Amount (ABFA) of Ghana’s oil contribution to development in agriculture
and education in the northern sector should make funded projects visible to
citizens, says a SEND-Ghana report.

The 2016 report titled: “Oil for citizens:
reality or mirage,” was carried out with the support of Oxfam America and
tracked five funded oil projects in the two sectors across Northern, Upper East
and Upper West regions.

The projects included the Sandema Koori Dam,
construction of six unit classroom block at Nafarong, rehabilitation of Duori
Dam in Jirapa (Upper West), and construction of six-unit block at Kadia,
Savelugu (Northern) and two streams of kindergarten (KG) blocks funded out of ABFA.

The objective of the ABFA is to maximize the
rate of economic development, ensure

The construction and rehabilitation of the
projects provided community members with direct and indirect employment
opportunities and paid wages as social benefits.

According to the report, none of the five
sampled projects were completely funded out of the ABFA, although the Ministry
of Finance (MoF) confirmed that the sampled projects were funded out of ABFA,
and “it could not provide evidence on the actual ABFA contribution to the
projects”.

It said the Ministry of Education (MoE), the
five sampled District Assemblies and respective directorates of education had
limited knowledge on the projects regarding financing and implementation
arrangements.

“The ABFA was spread delicately across
many projects, resulting in delayed completion dates and possible cost overruns
and the actual contribution to the sampled projects were very minimal,”
the report said.

It said none of the projects were completed on
time due to delays in funds transfer and minimal budgetary allotment from the
ABFA.

“Citizens’ participation in project
governance was minimal and not homogeneous across all districts and the social
impact of the selected projects can not completely be attributed to the ABFA as
its contribution towards project implementation was minimal,” it said.

“Oil revenues have become a key component
of Ghana’s annual budget which are used judiciously under the Petroleum Revenue
Management Law (PRML) to lessen poverty and improved quality life”.                                                                                                                            
“This PRML law provides a framework for accounting for oil production,
expenditure and receipts and also gives clear guidelines for revenue
distribution and investment”.

The ABFA study made it clear from the report
that the projects had crucial benefits and had not created only job
opportunities but supported improved livelihoods of community members. 

The report recommended that in order to avert
cost and time overruns, there is the need to ensure better implementation as
well as monitoring and evaluation of projects periodically.

Community members should also be engaged in
project selection to give meaning to bottom-up approach to development, it
said.

GNA

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