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Ghosts ‘Chop’ Oil Cash as Projects Can’t Be Found

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Millions of cash accrued from Ghana’s oil between the years of 2011 and 2016 were largely blown for the wrong reasons on wrong projects in the wrong places and some of the projects have turned out to be Ghost-projects, KITE, an energy policy think-tank and pressure group has revealed.

The think-tank said some projects as reported by the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) as having been executed with oil monies between 2011 and 2016 were nonexistent, as field visits to the various project sites have revealed.

One of the several instances revealed a 6-unit classroom block which was reported to have been funded by oil money in Duu, in the East Mamprusi district was not found upon visit, and members of the community confirmed there is no such project in the community.

In another case, a dam which was supposed to have been funded by oil money was not found.

Presenting its Report on the Evaluation of  key provisions in   the  Petroleum  Revenue Management   Act   (PRMA)   on  the   usage   of   monies   from   oil   sale,   Ismael Edjekumhene, the Executive Director of KITE revealed that even though the Petroleum Revenue Management Act stipulates that government should invest oil monies in four (4)priority areas, government rather spent oil monies in ten (10) sectors during the period under review, which is contrary to the law.

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It was further revealed that government, within the period, also breached the provision of the law that states that “petroleum revenue allocations should be guided by strategic medium-term plans that align with national priorities shaped through public consensus”.

It said government rather spent oil cash on projects which either did not reflect the actual needs of the communities or were simply different projects which were entirely different from the ones reported by the respective MMDAs.

The Report said over 60% of projects undertaken were not priority projects for the respective communities whilst the very important priority ones were ignored. It revealed that 44% of the oil money had gone into roads and other infrastructural projects, Agriculture 11%, expenditure on the amortization of loans amounted to 26%, Ghana Infrastructural Fund 8%, PIAC less than 1% at the time and capacity building over three hundred million Ghana cedis.

The Report further revealed that huge monies were spent on capacity building, and in this is about60% of monies spent on capacity building going into education and such monies were in some cases used to print registers and attendant sheets for capacity building, school fees subsidies, a chunk also going into scholarships and capitation grants, supply of free school uniforms and even supply of stationery, whilst these are supposed to be funded by the GETFund, which has an assured source of money supply.

This, according to Ismael Edjekumhene, the Executive Director of KITE could be a breeding ground for people to misuse the GETFund monies.

There were instances of overpayment of contract amounts. He said the government stayed within the law to allocate oil money to four (4) priority sectors in 2011, but veered off to 12 sectors in 2012, 8 in 2013, 6 in 2014, 8 in 2015 and6 in 2016, in breach of the spirit of the law.

He also indicated that the law seeks to ensure an even distribution of oil money to ensure even level of development across the nation.

In effect, the poorest regions should have received more of the allocation, but the reverse is the situation here. The Western region received the highest allocation followed by the Greater Accra region, with Central region receiving the least of oil monies followed by the three northern regions.

By: Frederick E. Aggrey

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