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Vote for political parties with good proposals in managing oil money, head of civil society advises Ghanaian electorate



The Chairman of the Civic Society Platform on Oil and Gas, Dr Steve Manteaw has urged the Ghanaian electorate to vote for political parties with the best proposals to manage the country’s oil proceeds in upcoming general elections.

Dr Manteaw who was speaking on the governance challenges in Ghana’s oil and gas sector at the public forum in Tamale said proceeds since the country started oil production in commercial quantities six years now has not benefited the ordinary citizens who have entrusted the management of state resources including oil into the hands of politicians citing the northern region as an example.

“You must look at for political parties with good proposals to manage Ghana’s oil and gas properly in this year’s elections and not on trivial issues that will not put food on the table,” Dr Manteaw said. “We need to move away from the way we do party politicking and concentrate on critical issues that border on the future of Ghana’s natural resources.”

Oil money so far in Ghana

Ghana, according to him, has been able to produce 162 million barrels of oil at the jubilee fields with its American partners, Tullow Oil  and Exxon Mobil . Ghana’s share, Dr Manteaw said, is 18% translating into 3.2 billion dollars.

As at December 2015, Ghana has 250 million dollars in the heritage accounts and the money will remain there for 15 years which is stipulated in the law.

In the best of time, the country earned about 900 million dollars and in the worst of times, it got about 300 million dollars from the sale of oil.

Ghana, he explained, should have passed a petroleum exploration production law first and not revenue management law because players such as Cosmo energy outwitted the country and ultimately costing the country a huge some revenue which could have gone a long way to help the economy.

But Dr Manteaw told the people in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions that, oil monies meant for projects in education and agriculture in the three regions of the north have not been used properly.

Ghanaians citizens, he said must know that the inherent potential of oil and gas is for unlocking development opportunities and how well the country has managed its resources is based on lessons learnt from the mining sector.

He revealed that an Islamic school called Farikiya in Tamale was among the beneficiary schools of oil money but even the head teacher had no idea his school was one of the beneficiaries when the platform visited the school.

The Public Interest Accountability Committee (PIAC) visit to find out the status of oil funded projects indicates that some of them are non-existence and monies have not been used for their intended purposes.

“We have reasons to believe that this particular situation may be wide spread and PIAC has since written to the Auditor General to institute value for money projects into oil funded projects to be able stem any waste that may be identified.

The garners include Ghana Oil and Gas Inclusive Growth, the Natural Resource Governance Institute,CDD and Africa Center for Energy Policy(ACEP).

Executed projects

He, however, stated that a lot of projects have been executed such as Saint Francis Senior High School (SHS ) benefited from oil money through the construction of a science laboratory.

However, the platform interactions with regional offices and district assemblies indicated local authorities were not aware of the projects because the contracts were awarded from Accra. This he said, raises questions on the quality of material used which make makes it difficult for effective poor supervision.

Zibila SHS in the upper east region, he added also benefited with the construction of a dormitory block from oil proceeds. “I have not blamed government because it may be individuals entrusted to execute the project but they seconded it at expense of the ordinary citizens,” he said.

The people in the north, Dr Manteaw advised, need to show keen interest in the exploration of natural resources currently ongoing in the voltarian basin because issues of compensation will affect their livelihoods.

Some of the oil money projects are non-existent, adding everything in education has been tagged as coming from oil money. From books, chalks and school blocks, exam papers and yet GETFund is working.

Northern zone team leader

Alhaji Abdel Rahman Osman, northern regional team leader of the CSOs reminded participants that with politicians more concerned with issuing campaign promises, the issues of oil and gas are virtually absent and electorate need to ask questions about them.

“A lot of people ask the platform why it was advocating oil and gas in the north when its exploration is not here, forgetting that the shortage of Liquified Petroleum Gas(LPG) shortage affects them,” he remarked.

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