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Business News of Friday, 21 December 2012

Source: myjoyonline.com

Group slams gov’t for spending more than it’s saving from oil revenue

The Coalition of Civil Society Organizations in Oil and Gas has slammed the government for spending more than it is saving of the revenues accruing from the country’s oil resources.

The Coalition is therefore calling for transparency and accountability in the management of the country’s oil revenue.

The group also pointed out what it calls serious defects in how contracts in the sector are awarded.

At a round table meeting organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs, the coalition of civil society groups and experts in oil and gas raised serious concerns with the oil and gas contract regime.

They want government to move away from direct negotiations and begin open and competitive bidding.

They are also demanding mandatory contract disclosures and the lessening of ministerial powers in awarding contracts.

Energy Economist and Executive Director of the Africa Centre for Energy Policy, Mohammed Amin Adam, who led the discussion, said the powers granted the minister could be exploited.

“The Minister exercises discretion as to which contract to publish or not; we think it is not good because where a contract is a bad contract and the government doesn’t want citizens to know, the minister may exercise that discretion and refuse to publish that contract,” he said.

Mr Amin said the coalition was advocating “mandatory contract disclosure which should be provided for in law so that the minister doesn’t have that room to decide whether to hide a contract or not.”

The participants were unhappy with the way government is handling the petroleum fund. As at July this year, the fund had about $68 million.

Out of that only 14 million dollars has been saved by government for future development projects. Mohammed Amin Adam says that is a violation of the Petroleum Revenue Act.

Mr. Amin is also unhappy with provisions made to protect the environment, especially in cases of spillage.

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