Seth Terkper, Ghana's Finance Minister
Seth Terkper, Ghana’s Finance Minister

August 2014 marks exactly one year that I wrote a story on the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) and the huge difficulties of carrying out its mandate under the heading ?Public Interest And Accountability Committee Report Still Born??, and published on my blog and in Crusading Guide drawing attention to the hydra-headed resources deficit facing PIAC. ?Not surprised experts in Civil Societies Organizations (CSOs) in the oil and gas sector are back to the same topic calling for a different approach to the problem.

The financial difficulties of PIAC has now reached its zenith that CSO at a-day?s- forum on ?Multi-stakeholder Forum on Accountability Report in the Petroleum Revenue Management? have asked PIAC to formally write to Government to seek government?s view as to how PIAC should be resourced as this has greatly affected their output. This is so because PIAC has been notified by its rented landlord that it will no longer be housed in its current offices and has no alternative plan at least as of now.

But from the interactions it was clear that it was a deliberate by policy makers and legislators at that time not to fund PIAC activities since it was the CSOs that virtually forced the hand of legislators to create PIAC Kan Dapaah revealed.

?Old Challenges

With a broad range of people from various disciplines, PIAC is suppose to publish their reports twice yearly as demanded by the law but due to the same severe resource challenge it faces it is difficult in carrying out these duties timely. That notwithstanding, ?a copy of their report and findings has ?always reaches the President as he appoints the Minister of Finance and have appeared twice before Parliament amongst others as the required.

Reporting, Major (Rtd) Ablorh Quarcoo chairman of PIAC said the law requires of PIAC and other bodies that are mandated to monitor and evaluate compliance with the Act 815, which provides a platform for public debates on spending and prospects of Petroleum revenues.

The day?s forum focused on accountability organized by African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) and supported by Ibis noted that even though the transparency aspect is perfectly done by Government, and is commendable but seriously lacking in accounting on how the revenue is utilized that allows the owners ?citizens to track and know how revenue is been used and its effectiveness.

The Chartered Accountant was worried that the level of financial challenge has impacted negatively on its ability to make necessary follow-ups on the outcomes of their findings and more so the release of timely reports or findings which has affected the input that legislature would have to debate the report as requested by the law.

Answering questions, he disclosed that the Ministry of Finance now gives about between 50% -75% of their budget and that while that is commendable the cash releases delay and this holds them back in their work and data collection. ?For instance, site visits to places of interest that will inform a good report which should be released and distributed timely is seriously hampered.


Major (Rtd) Quarcoo, noted that it was refreshing to note that some of their recommendations have been taken on board by Government and as well as attentions to some inconsistencies that have been addressed. ?He was optimistic that the public have had enough knowledge and awareness that empower them. He explained that despite the severe financial challenges any public forum they have managed to organize has received very interesting remarks and suggestions from the public.

Forward ??

They cannot afford to fail Ghanaians and their expectations that the oil revenue should be used for physical development of the country. He explained that in their public interaction, Ghanaians have expressed the strong desire to see that the oil revenue is used for physical development and that they will want to see on the ground what the revenue is used for. He assured.

Advancing the suggestions, a resource Governance Expert with Revenue Watch Institute, Mr. Emmanuel Kuyole, said it is worrying and that PIAC was seen as a civil society organization which from the very beginning of a creation Act of Parliament (Act 815) by government as such and if the CSOs want PIAC to be truly independent then civil societies must give it a serious thought so that PIAC can still maintain its auditory independency.? He suggested that PIAC also should be allowed to be audited to give it that credibility.

Responding, ?Chairman ?Quarcoo, noted that their reports have always indicated sources and how funds are used to still keep their moral standing high. Adding that if there is enough resource it makes it easier to engage experts to verify what government claims or value for money.

Dr Kan Dapaah a former Chairman of public Accounts Committee of Parliament, noted the PIAC is an excellent organization and that PIAC originally was not part of the bill but it was when the issue of oversight responsibility of the revenue came up that CSOs came in. He explained how ?people thought some people were not voted for and yet wanted to restrict the members of Parliament?. He says PIAC findings are the most authoritative and comprehensive report in the industry and that dispels the notion that only government can perform and that non-state actors should be allowed to play a significant role in governance of the state as shown.

Major (Rtd) Quarcoo thanked the former legislator and government for commending them for a good work done in line with their mandate. He thanked Giza, Ibis, and Oxfam for coming handy in this area. Some participants wanted to know how and if PIAC is able to verify ?government? claims and how the revenue is been invested and if those investments are yielding the desired results.? He explained that in their first findings they made attempts to align revenue and projects but they got stacked along the way because of these same requisite resources. ?It is a tall order he admits? but still they will make progress as ?we must along?. He added.

Source: Seibik Bugri



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