Professor John Gatsi
Professor John Gatsi

Experts here have underscored the need for the Ghanaian government to review its Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA) (Act 815) to ensure prudent utilization of oil revenue.

Dr John Gatsi
Dr John Gatsi
Dr. John Gatsi, Head of Department at the Finance & School of Business at the University of Cape Coast, said six years into the commercial production of oil and gas, there was the need to review the law.

“Well, there are some issues with the law and, off course, certain aspects of the PRMA should be reviewed; one is about the allocation and the other is about the investment of the petroleum funds. We have made the law so flexible that the Minister of Finance can go to parliament any time and make a statement and that leads to a change in the way the allocation is to be done.

“There is a stringent procedure about the way we deal with the stabilization fund but you can see that, consistently for about three years, the stabilization fund has been dealt with severely to the extent that what is left in the stabilization fund is nothing to write home about.”

Gatsi also expressed concern about the country’s law that provides that revenue allocated to the stabilization and heritage funds should be invested outside the country.

“When it comes to the investment of the fund, some people will argue that when you invest all the money outside the country, it brings you foreign currency and help you build your reserve, but that is not all.

‘’We have capability in this country to manage part of the stabilization fund and the heritage fund as they are invested so it is our duty as a nation to re-think that aspect of the law so that part of that money will be earmarked for investment in safe but strategic area of this economy that will not lose the money for the country but will provide strategic investment in infrastructure and at the same time accrue enough for the fund,” Dr. Gatsi observed.

Kwame Jantuah, an energy expert and Vice-Chair of the country’s Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), the body charged with monitoring how oil proceeds were spent, also urged the government to take a second look at some aspects of the PRMA.

REVIEW OF THE PETROLEUM REVENUE MANAGEMENT ACT2011(ACT 815)

He mentioned two aspects of the law that government should consider reviewing to ensure transparency and accountability in the sector.

“I think one of the areas that should be looked at has got to do with the minister having the overall authority in certain issues and that should be looked at.’’

The West African country discovered oil in commercial quantities in 2007 and commenced production in December 2010.

Many Ghanaians say they are yet to feel the positive impact of the commercial production of the mineral. Enditem

Source: Francis Tandoh

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