The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) last Thursday launched its maiden edition of the Petroleum Revenue Management Report and made very important recommendations towards ensuring transparency and prudence in the management of the country’s oil revenue.
Among other interventions, the committee recommended to the Auditor-General to begin the process of auditing the Ghana Petroleum Fund (GPF), as prescribed by the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 2011 (Act 815), while asking Parliament to demand explanations from institutions charged with responsibilities under Act 815.
The essence of establishing the PIAC was to uphold transparency and accountability in the management of the country’s oil revenue.
The DAILY GRAPHIC finds the recommendations made by the committee extremely useful because they will go a long to help achieve the objectives of ensuring transparency and accountability in the management of the oil revenue.
We believe that it is only through prudent management of our oil revenue that Ghana will be able to avoid the pitfalls associated with oil production that have made the ‘Black Gold’ a curse, rather than a blessing, to many countries.
Many people are familiar with the ‘Dutch Disease’, also known as the resource curse or the “curse of oil”, which is defined variously as the damaging effect on an economy as a result of the exploitation and export of natural resources.
Again, many people are very familiar with the manner in which some African oil producing countries, such as Nigeria and Angola, have been plunged into serious environmental destruction and civil conflicts, largely as a result of the mismanagement of oil revenues in those countries.
As an emerging oil economy, it is imperative for Ghana to draw useful lessons from these negative effects of oil production and ensure that the country does not slip into those destructive conditions.
It is in this light that the DAILY GRAPHIC wants all Ghanaians to appreciate the critical mandate of the PIAC to ensure that the oil resource becomes a blessing to the nation and make Ghana a shining example of best practices in oil production on the African continent.
More important, we wish to urge all the institutions charged with various responsibilities under Act 815 to discharge their mandate with all seriousness and in the best interest of the nation.
The PIAC and other oversight bodies, such as Parliament, must also keep an eagle’s eye on the management of the oil revenue and ensure that transparency, accountability and prudence are maintained at all times.
Ghana is facing major development challenges and we reckon that revenue accruing from the country’s oil production is good income to use to close its development gap. But that can only be possible through the prudent management of the oil revenue.
As a nation, we cannot afford to mismanage the oil revenue when we have schools and hospitals to build, roads to construct and a huge burden to redeem a large section of the population from poverty and impoverishment.
The work of the PIAC is only one aspect of our collective effort at making oil a ‘resource blessing’ rather than a ‘resource curse’ in Ghana.
Let’s all put our shoulders to the wheel and have all hands on deck to realise that dream.