Business News of 2014-08-16

NGOs want Petroleum Revenue Management Law published

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the Western Region have appealed to the government to publish the draft regulation on the Petroleum Revenue Management Act to ensure efficient and effective utilisation of the petroleum revenue.

This followed operational and administrative difficulties in the implementation of the Petroleum Revenue Act. Act 815 passed in 2011.

They said the regulation would spell out clearly how the petroleum revenue should be managed to develop the various sectors of the economy and halt the exploitation of certain gaps and weaknesses in the current law.

This is contained in a communiqué issued by the CSOs at a stakeholders’ forum organized by Friends of the Nation on the review of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA) in Takoradi on Thursday.

The CSOs who made the call include Friends of the Nation, Western Region Association of Non Governmental Organisations, Community Land and Development Foundation, Ghana National Canoe and Fishermen Council, some chiefs and officials from the Fisheries Commission.

They said if the draft regulation was made public it would enable various stakeholders in the country to make the necessary inputs into it before submission to Parliament for deliberation and final passage.

They expressed disappointment with some proposals made by the Ministry of Finance towards the amendment of the law despite many proposals submitted by various civil society organizations and individuals since the sector minister announced in this year’s budget plans to review the law.

They reiterated the need for the government to fulfill its promise of establishing Western Corridor Development Authority so that certain percentage of the petroleum revenue would be allocated to the region for development interventions. They proposed that the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) should be well resourced to play its supervisory role on the utilisation of the country’s petroleum revenue.

They suggested that the Investment Advisory Committee (IAC) recommendations on the use of the oil and gas revenue should be binding on the Minister of Finance so that the Minister would not make discretionary decisions.

They proposed that the 70/30 allocation of the petroleum revenue to the national budget and the Petroleum Holding Fund should be strictly adhered to.

They also proposed that two women should be represented at the seven-member IAC in compliance with the Gender Affirmative Plan while the 13-member PIAC should be reduced to 11 to reflect what is in the law.