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PIAC wants budget well focused to maximize benefits of oil revenue

  • SOURCE: | qwesa2big
  •   By : Prince Appiah

    Prof Buah-BassuahThe Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) has described as “thin” the distribution of oil revenue to various regions in the country.

    Allocation of oil revenues to infrastructure projects across the country does not commensurate with the expected benefits from the investments.

    Most infrastructure projects captured in 2011 as under construction remain “ongoing” in 2013 according to PIAC.

    PIAC says the spread of limited revenues from oil over too many projects has resulted in the failure of most of the projects to meet the planned time of completion.

    “We have to get a regional balance so you [government] have to satisfy all regions, as a result the only solution to that is, if you identify a region you must complete that project rather than have many project in that region spreading them over without completing,” said PIAC Chairman, Professor Kingsley Buah Bassuah. “There is the need for equity but it should be made in such a way that the project has to be finished not to be spread over left unfinished”.

    The 2014 Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA), for instance, had four priority areas – Loans, Agriculture Modernization and Roads and other Infrastructure.

    According to the reports, actual utilization of oil revenue in 2014 points that a lot more projects than the four priority areas were funded.

    The GH¢170.62 million allocation to Agriculture Modernization, for instance, represents 31 per cent of total annual budget funding amount.

    About 70 per cent was spent on the construction of four sea defense walls – which is not modernization – in some fishing communities at the expense of rehabilitation of irrigation infrastructure which received less than four per cent.

    PIAC indicates an urgent need for the budget funding amount to be better-targeted and well-focused to help maximize its effectiveness and impact in the socio-economic development of Ghana.

    Prof. Buah-Bassuah tells LUV News it is essential for a national dialogue on how best to derive the most benefits from its hydrocarbon resources.

    “That is why we suggested that the national development plan is essential, so that such things can be keyed in and factored in a specific period rather than do it in a piece meal,” he said.

    PIAC suggested as part of its recommendation national fora must be conducted to discuss the interest of the regions before submissions are made for budget inputs.

    Outcomes of the on-going national dialogue on the 40 year development plan are expected to inform the Annual Budget Funding Amount.

    Professor Buah-Bassuah spoke on the sidelines of media training programme on oil, gas and mining in Accra for selected African journalists

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