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General News of Thursday, 9 December 2010

Source: GNA

Ghana records weak transparency in extractive industries - Report

Accra, Dec. 9, GNA - Ghana recorded weak transparency in her extract= ive industries, according to a report by the Revenue Watch Institute. The report on the title "2010 Revenue Watch Index-Transparency, Government and the Oil Mining Industries" measured and compared informati= on disclosure about oil, gas and mining industries by governments in mineral-producing countries.

Mr Richard Quayson, Deputy Commissioner, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) announced this in Accra on Thursday. He was speaking on the State of Corruption in Ghana as part of activities marking the Seventh Anniversary Celebration of International Anti-Corruption Day. It is on the theme: Speak up...Stop Corruption". The report indicated that Ghana performed poorly in terms of providi= ng public information on her extractive industries as she obtained a score o= f 32.3 out of 100 in the index.

This score placed Ghana in the category of countries with "Scant Revenue Transparency" alongside Tanzania, Algeria, Democratic Republic of=

Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Turkmenistan. Mr Quayson said this low level of transparency undermined the abilit= y of citizens to hold their government and the industry accountable for the= ir performances in managing these resources. He said with the discovery of oil and the expectations of Ghanaians on the oil revenue, government should improve on its information disclosure in the oil and gas sector.

Mr Quayson urged government and Parliament to ensure that elaborate provisions on transparency, accountability and public oversight mechanism= s remained in the 2010 Revenue Management Bill 2010 to help create the conducive environment to prevent rent-seeking conduct and ensure transparency and accountability in the management of petroleum revenue in=

the country. He said reports from the Public Procurement Authority revealed that some procurement entities disregarded some provisions of the Public Procurement Act, particularly those related to the selection of procureme= nt methods, preference for selective and restricted tendering, split tenderi= ng and inappropriate advertisements.

Mr Quayson said reports from the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament indicated instances of corruption in the management of State resources, including failure to bank revenue, understatement of revenue a= nd non-tendering of contracts. He said CHRAJ as an anti-corruption agency and ethics office for the=

public service in Ghana had undertaken projects to combat corruption and contributed to the promotion of high integrity in the country. Mr Quayson said the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP) was= a key strategic response to the lack of holistic approach to combating corruption in Ghana, issue of poor coordination and institutional weaknesses, received further impetus in 2010 and an assessment of the situation of corruption in both the private and public sectors was in progress.

He said since 2000 when the first national survey on corruption was made, no other survey of such magnitude had been conducted and the assessment being undertaken would assist the commission to better underst= and the actual level of corruption, its reasons and trends. Mr Quayson said it would also help identify gaps and challenges on t= he approaches adopted over the years to combat corruption in the country and=

provide the basis for the development of the Plan. He said one of the greatest challenges faced this year was the politicisation of crime and corruption and pledged its commitment to wage= a campaign on political corruption and election fraud. "The fight against corruption is a shared responsibility and the nati= on needs all to stop corruption," he added.

Ms Anna Bossman, acting Commissioner of CHRAJ was honoured with an Integrity Award at the International Corruption Hunters Alliance Conferen= ce at the World Bank in Washington DC, United States of America.