Experts are threatening to drag the government of Ghana to court over concerns that a minute fraction of oil revenue is being used to develop the various sectors of society.
According to the executive director of the Kumasi Institute of Technology and Environment, Ishmael Ejekumhene, this action has become necessary because government is violating the oil revenue law.
“How the oil money has to be used is defined by law, and clearly if you look at the six years of using the money, there are some infractions of the law,” Ejekumhene noted.
He added: “If the law says we must ensure regional balance in development, I think we are not doing too well on that, the law also says we must use in such a way to maximize the impact of development and is also not happening.
“So if those things are so clear in the law and it’s not happening, it ceases to be something like persuading somebody, we need to get them to do it the way the law wants us to do it, so I think it’s about time as citizens we start probably thinking about taking the Minister of Finance or the Ministry of Finance to court and getting them to do what the law expects us to do, and we have to do that because that is extremely very important because that is a violation of the law.”
Mr. Ejekumhene was speaking at a SEND-GHANA National stakeholder’s dialogue on a research report on the utilization of the Annual Budget Funding Amount for specific projects in Accra funded by Oxfam America.
Some of the civil society groups were also worried about the lack of citizen participation in projects in the communities. According to the research conducted by SEND-GHANA, most projects they worked on in the Northern part had very low monitoring and supervision.
They said some of the projects ongoing may not be demand-driven because views of residents were not sampled before the projects started. The programme officer of SEND-GHANA, Rachel Gyabaah lamented on the lack of decentralization of the projects and how that can impede development in the rural communities.
“Citizens are aware that there is going to be a construction of a project, but as to how where the decisions were made, whose reality count? All those information we couldn’t get from citizens because of them they were there and they got the project, but as to whether it was demand driven, that is where we found the gap. If they are not aware, how will they monitor? How will they track because we know monitoring is very key.
“You realize that for only Kori dam that we were able to get information on how procurement was done, but for the other four, information was limited because none of the district assembly, district education directorate could not give us concrete information because they were not involved in that process,” Gyabaah noted.
The experts want Ghanaians to hold government accountable for the specific projects the oil revenue has been used for.
According to Gyabaah, the project was motivated by a research which was conducted by ACEP in 2014 which was looking at three years of oil finding in Ghana.