PIAC launches plan to effectively track petroleum revenue(Dec 15, 2016)




The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) yesterday launched a five-year strategic plan with a focus on strengthening its internal structures and partnerships to help it to better deliver its mandate of providing an independent oversight over the collection and utilisation of Ghana's petroleum revenue.

The plan is to cost almost $9.5 million to implement in five years or $1.9 million annually, as PIAC commits itself to improve the collection, validation and analysis of data by engaging all stakeholders in the petroleum industry.
Pillars
The strategy is anchored on five pillars, namely strengthening of internal structures and operations, creation of conditions for sustainable resource mobilisation, improvement of visibility of PIAC, creation of platforms for effective citizen engagement and building of strategic partnerships and institutional linkages across PIAC’s major stakeholders.
As a priority for the committee, the strategic plan has been developed to ensure continued success for the operations of PIAC in fulfillment of its core mandate spelt out in the Petroleum Revenue Management Act 815(2011)  as amended by Act 893 (2015).
As a watchdog for the public in the utilisation of the country’s oil revenue, PIAC believes that the plan provides a framework for it to prioritise its actions and evaluate its performance.
The immediate past Chairman of the PIAC, Prof. P.K. Buah-Bassuah, who launched the report, said it would enhance the committee’s oversight and strengthen its independence to ensure transparency and accountability.
He said the plan “articulates a bold aspiration for the transparent and accountable utilisation of the petroleum revenues, particularly in the four priority areas outlined by the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, as well as the role various stakeholders have been playing in the management of the resource.”
For a body that has been cash and logistics strapped in the past, Prof.  Buah-Bassuah said the plan represented a good summary of standard practices of the institution for a five-year period in order to give a better plan of action, engage, motivate and encourage various stakeholders in support of PIAC’s work plan.
Bogged down in the past by financial constraints, because of the lack of funding, the Petroleum Revenue Management Amendment Act 893 (2015) provides the antidote for that problem by prescribing funding from the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA).
Donor support
However, Mr Ishmael Edjekumhene, the Executive Director of KITE, observed that the arrangement did not guarantee funds for the committee, given the volatile nature of oil prices, as well as the lack of government commitment to release funds to the body to promote accountability.
He, therefore, appealed to the country’s development partners; including GIZ, Department for International Development (DfID) and Revenue Watch, to continue to support it to deliver its mandate.
The new Chairman of the committee, Mr Joseph Winful, paid tribute to the forerunners of the committee who kept it going, in spite of numerous difficulties.
Achievements
Despite it challenges, the committee, established in 2011, has recorded some achievements to its name including consistently publishing its mandated annual and semi–annual reports that informed the public on the management and use of oil revenues in the country.
It also provides independent assessment of the management of petroleum revenues to committees in Parliament including the Finance Select Committee, Public Accounts Committee and the Mine and Energy Committee and also tracks physical verification of selected projects funded from the Annual Budget Funding Amount.

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