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Like Nigeria, Ghana begins amendments on Petroleum Management Act

Just 10 years into the oil economy in Ghana, there had been a growing outcry suggesting that 10 years after oil discovery and exploration, there has been nothing tangible to show for it.

This ill-feeling has therefore compelled the Ghanaian parliamentarians to propose new amendments to the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA) to enable government focus on four priorities.

It would be recalled that for more than 17 years of the prevailing democracy in Nigeria, efforts of the lawmakers to complete job on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) have continued to be futile, except the 8th Senate who has been able to balkanize the Bill into four parts and had managed to deliver one which had been passed and is currently awaiting presidential Assent.

However, industry followers say the passed arm of the Bill which is the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), is full of thorny issues that may clash with any of the expected three arms yet to be passed by the National Assembly.

Before now, Ghana had been placing oil revenue into the Annual Budget Funding Amount and the scenario had been indicating that not much is achieved.

The lawmakers argue that the current arrangements in the PRMA where oil revenue for the country have been spread thinly on projects have not made the desired impact on the people.

According to the Chairman of the Committee on Mines and Energy, Mr. Emmanuel Kwesi Gyamfi, the Minister of Finance is to report to Parliament   annually the amount of oil revenue that has accrued into the Petroleum Fund, saying “Since the inception of the Act 815 in 2011 there is no detailed list of the projects that has been financed from the oil revenue which has been submitted to the House”.

Findings show that in Ghana, only 30 per cent of oil earnings are supposed to be channeled into an Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA), but developments in recent years tend to show otherwise, hence the need for the amendment.

The chairman revealed in the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) report some of the projects which has been cited and monies spent on them cannot be located when one  visit the sites.

While calling for the full lists of all projects being financed from the petroleum revenue to be brought to the House, Gyamfi stated that relevant agencies like the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Ministry of Finance among others mentioned in the PIAC report must take note of the various suggestions made on the floor of the House for the interest of managing Ghana oil earnings for all.