Dr. Eric Osei-Assibey, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Ghana, says it is unnecessary for Ghana to keep its Heritage Funds in an investment product with 2.25 per cent interest rate while borrowing at over 10 per cent interest rate.
Dr Osei-Assibey, an Economist and Adjunct Fellow of the Institute of Economic Affairs, said the nation had invested about $625 million of the country’s petroleum funds in the USA at an interest rate of 2.25 percent, which had yielded a paltry $25 million within a period of five years.
He said the country’s petroleum funds had not yielded the needed dividends in view of the low profit return, therefore it was time government took a decision on the petroleum funds that would inure to the benefit of Ghanaians.
Dr Osei-Assibey, said this when he chaired the presentation of the outcome of the P-TRAC Index Report in Accra, on Tuesday
The IEA’s P-TRAC Index project, which started in 2011, provides quantitative indicators to track progress in the governance of the oil and gas sector aimed at promoting transparency and accountability in the sector.
According to the IEA, the methodology used for conducting the P-TRAC Index followed conventions proposed by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the World Bank’s Guide on Resource Revenue Transparency.
The event attracted some members of Parliament, Ministers of State, the diplomatic community, senior citizens and the media.
Professor John Asafu-Adjaye, a Senior Research Fellow at the IEA, who presented the P-TRAC Report, said the passage of the Right to Information (RTI) Bill into law would improve disclosure of information on the award of contracts and licences in the oil and gas sector.
He cited the recent petroleum agreement signed between Ghana and Exxon Mobil of the United States to undertake oil and gas exploration in the Deep Tano Basin as a case in point, which was shrouded in secrecy because details of the contract was not made public.
The Report also called for the Marine Pollution and the Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency bills to be presented to Parliament for passage into law.
Prof. Asafu-Adjaye noted that, if Ghana wanted to be a major player in the petroleum industry, then the bills must be passed into law so that oil companies would fulfil their responsibilities and not take the nation for a ride.
He said the passage of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA) was not enough to ensure transparency and accountability in the petroleum sector, hence the need to pass those bills into law to complement the PRMA.
He added that portions of the Citizens Budget should include information on the governance of the petroleum resources so that the ordinary Ghanaian would understand issues pertaining to the sector.
However, he noted that, the passage of the Petroleum Exploration and Production Bill into Law by Parliament in 2016, had improved the availability of information on petroleum resource management.