Ghanaians urged to demand accountability on petroleum revenue

Professor John Gartchie Gatsi, an Economist and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Cape Coast has urged Ghanaians to demand accountability especially regarding the petroleum revenue.

He said accountability was in a form of demand and supply, which meant that when citizens remained passive on the issues of the collection and usage of the country’s petroleum revenue, it would leave room for malfeasance.

He made this call when he addressed members of Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ) at the review and interrogation workshop of the Public Interest Accountability Committee’s (PIAC) Semi-annual report for 2017 held in Koforidua over the weekend.

The review and interrogating of the PIAC report sponsored by the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) to enlighten and promote accountability of Petroleum revenue.

Professor Gatsi said there was the need for citizens to demand to know the content of the Petroleum deal that was signed in their name. 

He said it necessary because the Petroleum Act [Act 919] clearly called for the Publication of a Petroleum Register as stipulated in section 56 of the Act.

He said it was clear in the Act that the Petroleum Commission should publish a Petroleum Register to indicate the areas of operation and every detail of the contract before the signing the deal.

Section 56 of the PRMA states that “(1) The Commission shall establish and maintain a register of petroleum agreements, licenses, permits and authorisations as prescribed. (2) The register shall be open to the public.”  

Professor Gatsi said the public could only make inputs if the contents were made available in line with the Petroleum Act adding that it should not rest on the side of those who engaged in the contract to tell Ghanaians that that was best contract ever.

He said, with regard to the ExxonMobil contract, government should not determine the five per cent local partner needed to complete agreement and further ratification by parliament but rather the private sector of Ghanaians should be allowed to openly pitch for the partnership.

He expressed confidence in the legislature to do due diligence with the ExxonMobil deal, demanding issues regarding disclosure on behalf of the Ghanaian citizenry, adding, “No contract is valid unless it is ratified by Parliament”.

He however commended PIAC for the great work it had done ever since it was set up especially in educating and informing the grass root on the oil revenue and monitoring the oil proceeds.

Source: GNA

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