“We are scheduled for validation at the end of April. The stakes are very high for Ghana because recently, we were singled out for an award for being the star performer in using EITI for policy reforms,” he said.
Prior to that, he said, Ghana went through a pilot validation in November last year, and the report from it would enable the committee to prepare for Ghana to meet the full validation.
“Around November last year, we were put down for pilot validation and the report has been sent to us. We will meet to review the pilot validation report and this will enable us meet the full validation report,” he said.
The EITI, a global standard that seeks to promote open and accountable management of a country’s natural resources, declares a country to be EITI compliant after going through a rigorous international validation exercise.
Ghana, which has been implementing the initiative since 2003 under the Ghana EITI (GHEITI), was declared EITI-compliant in 2010 for the mining sector and is due for the next validation in April for both the oil and mining sectors.
Oil, no exception
The April validation, according to him, will be the first time Ghana will undertake an EITI compliance assessment of both the mining and oil sectors.
Transparency in the management of the country’s petroleum revenues has been the subject of discussion for many stakeholders, but Dr Manteaw allayed fears of how that was going to impact on whether Ghana could pass the transparency test or not.
“A lot of the things we have done for the oil sector were based on the recommendations of the EITI. Transparency, disclosures, utilisation of the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA), the establishment of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) and saving part of the revenues in the Ghana Petroleum Funds (GPF) for future generation are things we have done based on lessons we learnt from managing our gold resources under the EITI,” he explained.
Benefit of validation
Every country that attains an EITI compliant status after validation stands to gain a reputable position among its peers, which projects it to be a better manager of the country’s natural resources.
“When a country runs into fiscal challenges, it normally will require the support of development partners, but when there is a certain perception of poor governance of its resources, there is always a level of reluctance to come to your aid because they think you will be a waste of their resources because you are not managing your own resources very well,” he said.
He added: “If Ghana passes the validation test, it will be a confirmation that we have realised our mistakes from the previous management of our resources and we are making the necessary corrections. It will also mean we are on course to managing our natural resources very well and, therefore, we need support from our development partners.”
Citing Liberia for instance, he said during the year that Liberia became EITI compliant, their debts were written off because their development partners realised that the country was back on track to better manage its extractive resources.
Ghana was commended for being a strict implementor of the recommendations of the Ghana EITI (GHEITI), leading to far-reaching policy, regulatory and institutional reforms in its mining, oil and gas sectors.
The country was among four countries selected from 49 EITI implementing countries for the prestigious EITI Chair’s award, at the 7th Global EITI Conference held in Lima, Peru. The others are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mongolia, and the Philippines.. — GB