Finance Minister Dr Kwabena Duffuor has inaugurated a 13-member Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) to provide an independent assessment of how petroleum revenues are managed and used.
The Petroleum Revenue Management Act calls for the establishment of PIAC to monitor and evaluate compliance with the Act by government and other relevant institutions in the management and use of petroleum revenues and investments.
It is also to provide platform for the public to debate whether spending prospects, management and use of the revenues conform to development priorities and provide an independent assessment on the management and use of petroleum revenues to assist Parliament and the Executive in their oversight responsibility.
Dr Duffuor said although the Petroleum Revenue and Management Act had several provisions designed to entrench transparency and responsibility in revenue use, such as several layers of reporting and publication requirements, the committee would be the primary human force in the endeavour.
He urged the committee to ensure that the right information was provided to the public to help in public expectations management about the use of petroleum revenues.
“Managing public expectations about the use of petroleum revenues are very important aspect of your committee’s responsibilities,” he said and urged them to give the public the opportunity to debate how the government was managing the revenue vis-a-vis development priorities.
“This is important because before the Act was even drafted, in the formation stage, the people of Ghana made it very clear to the government team that toured Ghana to listen to their opinions, that they are very passionate about how petroleum revenue will be managed and used in this country,” he added.
Dr Duffuor expressed the hope that the committee would play its influential role in guiding the use of petroleum revenue to ensure that benefits accrued could be utilised by future generations and pledged government’s support to help with the necessary logistics to facilitate the committee’s work.
Major Daniel Sowa Ablorh-Quarcoo (rtd), a Member of the Committee, expressed commitment of members to discharge their responsibilities diligently in line with the confidence reposed in them.
The PIAC has members each drawn from independent policy research think tanks, civil society organisations, Ghana Trade Union Congress, National House of Chiefs, Association of Queen Mothers and Association of Ghana Industries and Chamber of Commerce.
Others are Ghana Journalists Association, Ghana Bar Association, Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Christian Groups on rotational basis, Federation of Muslim Councils and Ahmadiyya Missions on rotational basis and Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.