Business News of Saturday, 27 October 2018
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 a 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 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.