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Regional News of Monday, 18 May 2015

Source: Public Agenda

Prioritise pro-poor sectors in petroleum revenue allocation

Government has been urged to commit substantial portion of the petroleum revenue to pro-poor sectors such as Education, Health and Agriculture as they are pivotal for the pursuit of sustainable economic development of the country.

Mr Kofi Boahen, a Research Fellow for Imani Centre for Policy and Education Policy, made the call in a presentation on developments in the Oil and Gas Sector at a meeting organised by IMANI centre for Policy and Education in Accra.

Mr Boahen observed that the over reliance of the Health and Agriculture sectors on Donor support was not the best. He stressed that spending of petroleum revenues should be based on an investment plan guided by either a long-term national development or medium term development framework.

The programme focused on the Ghana's Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA) in respect of 2010 to 2013. It specifically looked at managing Ghana's oil and gas resources to ensure sustainability in reserves by optimising resource exploitation as well as judicious use of oil and gas revenue in an equitable manner for both the present and future generations.

Commenting on funding in respect of Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA), he noted that only 1.49% of the amount was spent on the Education sector from 2011-2013 and this amounted to 19.6 million cedis. The Health sector received 0.02%, representing GHS 435,236, the lowest allocation from 2011-2014. The Agricultural sector received GHS 1.8billion, equivalent to 14.41% of Agriculture share from ABFA spending from 2011-2014.

Mr Theo Achempong, a Petroleum Economist and candidate of the Aberdeen University of England, proposed that there should be frequent stakeholder engagements on what went to into decisions and selection of the four project areas where petroleum revenues were to be applied relative to ABFA.

Mr Achempong also shared insightful thoughts on the legal framework and prospects within the oil and Gas industry.

Dr Steve Manteaw, Chairman of the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas, chaired the programme.