The existence of the citizen-based oversight committee tasked with the mandate to, among others, monitor and evaluate compliance with the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA) appears to be the least interesting to Ghanaians, for whose benefit the resources are expended.
This explains the low participation of citizens in the decision making concerning the management of petroleum revenues, according to a research conducted by the Kumasi Institute of Technology, Energy & Environment (KITE).
The research said 77 percent of respondents are unaware of the existence and mandate of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC).
The findings also revealed that majority of respondents, 67 percent did not have any knowledge of how the petroleum and mining revenues were being managed in Ghana at the baseline.
The KITE research recorded 68 percent of respondents dissatisfied with how the petroleum and mining revenues were being managed while 88 percent felt they were entitled to demand accountability from duty bearers regarding how revenues are handled.
Executive Director of KITE, Mr Ishmael Edjekumhene, presented the findings at a workshop in Accra on Examining Transparency and Accountability within the Oil and Gas Sector.
He lamented that after over seven of Ghana’s newly found resource, the mechanisms, impact and effectiveness of PIAC are yet to be assessed.
The Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) and PIAC were mechanisms put in place by the PRMA Act in 2011 to help ensure the transparency and management of petroleum revenues.
He indicated only six percent of respondents said they contacted anybody concerning the management and utilization of petroleum revenues.
‘’PIAC’s information activities at the district level resulted in significant increase in knowledge and awareness level on petroleum revenue management issue among study respondents.’’
Edjekumhene proposed that PIAC intensifies and scales up its citizen’s engagement activities through the use of a Citizen’s Information and Engagement Platform (CIEP) which was piloted by PIAC in December 2017.
‘’The committee needs to resort to the use of ICT’s that will increase connectivity and facilitate citizen-government interaction through accessible and user friendly mechanisms,’’ he added.
KITE also recommended for inclusion in the regulations being developed on the PRMA a provision that stipulates PIAC’s public engagements to be carried out at the district level as much as possible to compel PIAC to decentralize its public engagements.
PIAC is an independent statutory body mandated to promote transparency and accountability in the management of petroleum revenues in Ghana.
By Mawuli Y. Ahorlumegah