“Transparency scorecard shows room for improvement in Ghana’s oil and gas sector” Institute of Economic Affairs review.

A review of Ghana’s oil and gas sector by the Institute of Economic Affairs Ghana (IEA) has shown that considerable improvements are needed to improve transparency and accountability, with the sector receiving an overall P-TRAC Index score of 59.7% in 2011.

The P-TRAC Index is a project undertaken by IEA to promote transparency and accountability in the management of Ghana’s precious oil and gas resources. The 2011 P-TRAC Index measures transparency based on the provision of publicly available information in four key areas – Contract Transparency, Revenue Transparency, Expenditure Transparency  and the management of the Heritage and Stabilization Funds – for 2011. A score is awarded based on the fulfillment of specified criteria for each component, which is then averaged to give an overall result.

The highest scoring component was Contract Transparency, which measures the public disclosure of information regarding the award of contracts, with a score of 66.7%. The publication of Environmental Impact Assessments by the Jubilee Partners was awarded a score of 100%, and other components such the establishment of the Petroleum Commission as the authority awarding contracts, the constitutional  mandate of  Parliament to ratify and scrutinize contracts, and the openness and competiveness of the licensing process, also performed relatively strongly.  The publication of information on licensing by the government, public disclosure of oil and gas agreements, and process for appealing a license grant application were however highlighted as areas in need of improvement.

Revenue Transparency was awarded a score of 64.3% and showed a varied result in the publication of reports. The Minister of Finance received a 100% score for publication of petroleum receipts, and there was a good level of information on oil and gas reserves, prices and production values through various agencies including the Bank of Ghana (BoG), the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP). The GNPC and the MoFEP provided adequate information on the Government’s share of oil revenues, but the BoG received 0% for this component. It was also found that no information in relation to production costs associated with oil and gas exploration and production was publicly available.

Expenditure Transparency scored an average of 63.9% for the frequency and quality of reports regarding expenditures from the Government’s share of revenues.   The review of the projects receiving funding from the oil and gas revenue and the extent of their potential developmental impacts in areas of priority was reasonably positive and scored 88.6%.  However, the frequency of reports on expenditure by the MoEFP was judged not to meet best practice standards and received a score of only 33%.

The lowest scoring component of the Index was the management of the Heritage and Stabilization Funds, with an average transparency score of 44%.  While it is pleasing to see that the constitutional requirement for the accounts of the Funds to be audited are being fulfilled, the 2011 audited reports had not yet been published by the Attorney General at the time the Index was compiled. The score was also negatively impacted by the lack of information on the performance of the Heritage and Stabilization Funds, which is supposed to be published semi-annually by the BoG.

The overall 2011 score of 59.7% shows that although some progress has been made in the year under review to enhance transparency and accountability in the management of Ghana’s oil and gas resources, more needs to be done in the coming year. The P-TRAC Index Report highlights many areas for improvement in 2012.

The full version of the report is available from the IEA’s website on www.ieagh.org.


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