The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), an independent body charged with watch-dog roles over how Ghana?s petroleum revenue is spent, is severely cash-strapped, an official disclosed here?on Friday.
?? ? Yaw Owusu-Addo, Chairman of the Communications Committee, made this known when he made an intervention during the launch of a simplified version of the PIAC?s report here.
??? According to him, for the two years the committee had been operating, it had not received any funding from the ministry of Finance and so had to depend on stipends from foreign donor organizations.
?? The PIAC was set up by Section 51 of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA) of 2011 Act 815, with membership from civil society, including academia, professional associations, faith-based organizations, media, traditional authorities and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
?? The PIAC is mandated to monitor and evaluate compliance with the PRMA by government and other relevant institutions in the management and use of petroleum revenues; provide a platform for public debate on spending prospects of petroleum revenues in line with the development priorities; and provide an independent assessment on the management and use of the revenues.
?? ?We have not been funded for the past two years; we have not been paid our allowances, and no logistics have been provided for the work we have been assigned to do,? Owusu-Addo stated, and called on Ghanaians to impress upon the government to provide the body with funding to carry out its mandate.
?? According to him, the PIAC does not even have office accommodation, let alone the human resources, and so has been perching with another organization.
?? He however singled out the German Development Agency (GIZ) for coming to their rescue on so many occasions to ensure that they had some funding to carry out their basic functions.
?? ?There is however the risk of our being branded appendages of the German government if we continue to receive funding from GIZ with no support from the government,? Owusu-Addo cautioned.
?? He intimated that the major cause of the withholding of funding from the PIAC was that there was no regulation guiding the implementation of the PRMA and how it should be funded.
?? The representative of the German GIZ, Allan Lassey, wondered why the same provision that spelt out the responsibilities of the PIAC failed to spell out how its activities should be funded.
?? ?PIAC is supposed to be an independent institution and so it must not be seen to be going to beg the minister for Finance for funding,? Lassey urged, calling for a clear funding mechanism for the watchdog body.
?? Steve Manteaw, Co-chairman of the Ghana Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (GHEITI), underscored the importance of a body such as the PIAC in the country?s petroleum revenue management since Members of Parliament (MPs) had not demonstrated their commitment to seek the nation?s interest.
?? ?The whole world is looking up to Ghana to succeed in implementing its petroleum revenue management law. If we fail, we would have ourselves to blame, but if we succeed, the whole world would come and learn from us,? Manteaw intimated.? Enditem.
? Source: Justice Lee Adoboe