Take active participation in oil resource governance – ACEP charges youth

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Economics Acep Workshop
Acep Workshop

The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has challenged the youth to take interest and actively participate in the governance process of the country’s oil revenue to exact accountability from power.

It said it was the responsibility of the youth to take charge of oil-funded projects in their communities by checking, monitoring and tracking to ensure that they were not ghost projects but existed and were fit for the purpose.

Mr Kodzo Yaotse, Policy Lead for Petroleum and Conventional Energy, ACEP observed that the major obstacle to Ghana’s development from its oil resources were poor governance and corruption owing to poor citizenry oversight.

He warned that the youth would be the worst affected if they sat aloof and watched the mismanagement of the oil resources.

Mr Yaotse made the clarion call at a sensitisation workshop jointly organised by ACEP and the Department of Renewable Energy Technology, Cape Coast Technical University (CCTU) in Cape Coast on Monday.

The ‘Active Citizenship in Resource Governance’ forum was on the theme: “Strengthening Accountability for Good Resource Governance through Active Citizenship” and it sought to expose secondary school and tertiary students to how Ghana’s oil resource was being used and how they could police same.

The workshop also exposed the students to where they could access data on projects and expenditures made from the oil resource.

Mr Yaotse observed that even though there was an appreciable level of transparency with expenditure, there were lapses in accountability which needed to be cured.

He indicated, for instance, that the Annual Budget Funding Amount, which is money set aside from the oil revenue for selected development projects was fraught with challenges such as ghost projects and misappropriations.

“…there are other projects that are poorly delivered and within a few months, you see cracks on the building and all of those things, which are not delivering value for money and there are other projects that have been completed but abandoned and not in use for a long time because perhaps the needs of the people were not factored in delivering the project,” he said.

Consequently, Mr Yaotse admonished the youth to assume advocacy roles to check the mismanagement because “the decisions being made today will affect the quality of life you get after school.”

Admitting the difficulty in accessing data, he urged them to persist and adopt alternative strategies till they succeeded.

“We want people on the ground to be able to take some of these data disclosures and monitor and track the processes around to ensure accountability. When you go to your community and there is supposed to be an oil project and it is not there, you are able to raise alarm on some these things,” he said.

For his part, Professor Lawrence Atepor, the former Vice Chancellor and current Dean of School of Engineering, CCTU reiterated the essence of the workshop, and observed that many young people were unaware of their right to ask questions and demand accountability.

“It is worthwhile and most of them will have a fair idea of what their rights are and also educate their colleagues. We must be policemen; we must ask questions, we should know what our revenues are being used for,” he stressed.

“We need to make noise and let the authorities know that we are aware and the more people talk, comment and complain, I think they will listen to us. We don’t need to fight, we need to voice out,” he added.

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