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sharing in governance of extractive industries

Advocacy is critical to prudent oil revenue spending- stakeholders

Eunice Agbenyadzi, Policy Advisor of IBIS 

Discussants at a day’s workshop on a regional consultative forum have asserted that advocacy and media focus is not only key but critical to the useful utilization of oil and gas revenues in Ghana. This was observed when a tracking project showed that disbursement of oil revenue to the educational sector has not achieved the needed impact.

They should take the challenge of ensuring that oil and gas revenue are really used for what policymakers and duty-bearers say it is for participants observed.

 With support from IBIS Ghana, under the Education Against Poverty and Inequality (EAPI) Project, the African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), in partnership with the Northern Network for Education Development (NNED) are currently tracking and monitoring the 2014 utilization and disbursement levels of the 2015 allocated funds of $98, 275,504 to the education sector of the budget.

Discussing the issues, left Seibik, Journalist Against Corruption and Saani Yakubu - Dep. Head Actionaid

 The essence of these undertaking, is to make informed recommendations to influence the pending 2016 budget allocation of oil revenue to the education sector that should aim at reducing poverty. The tracking also did a retrospective analysis of the 2014 Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) allocations to the sector as demanded by law. Indeed a value for money audit for three investment projects in education funded by ABFA.

Need

Findings show that poor exam results, substandard schools (under trees), inadequate technical schools, lack of equipment, and the recent move from technical to humanities are reasons why the exercise is very essential. “There is a lot of work to be done in respect to ensuring that the oil revenue is disbursed according to the dictates of the law” the gathering learnt. The partners’ collaboration is to influence policy and duty-bearers to be accountable, transparent while ensuring good governance of oil resources. They are also interested in how the funds are used towards “expansion of education at the basic level”. Findings also show teacher distribution is skewed towards urban centers against rural or depressed areas accounting for imbalances in performance.

 IBIS

Eunice Rachael Agbenyadzi, National Policy Advisor of Ibis in her remarks noted that IBIS’s educational policy and activities is to advocate for a positive impact for all.  She says Ibis and partners recognize adequate funding as priority so that education becomes beneficial to all. And so Ibis target is to follow the disbursement procedures and its accountability processes.  The outcome of the forum and lessons thereof will be used do advocacy to influence policy and duty-bearers for positive outcomes in the 2016 budget. 

Oil Revenue and Education

The Deputy Executive Director ACEP Ben Boakye, explaining further on financing education with oil money in Ghana, he emphasized that the initiative was to ensure the efficient utilization of oil money,  source of the revenue, where it was being invested, and quantum received.   Furthermore,   it’s envisaged that by the end of the oil find, citizens should have benefited from it significantly. Adding that spending the revenue on consumption or intangibles will not inure to the benefit of the ordinary citizens.  He revealed that the ambiguity in the law allows the Minister of Finance to decide what priority is thereby spreading the oil resources on consumables instead of capital projects as envisaged by the law.

Oil for Poverty

Reminding the participants that oil is a finite resource, and the need to diversify, education should be key which can lead to significant reduction in poverty. The example of Trinidad & Tobago, widely acclaimed and how transformational it has impacted on its citizens and reduced poverty significantly is enough and urged policy makers to emulate that. Again Brazil spends 70% of its oil revenue on education, while Botswana spends 5% in terms of its GNP on education raking in massive results he added.  

 Chairing the function, Prof. Djangmah in his remarks underscored the usefulness of education to poverty reduction and advised ACEP to do more in visibility of the good work it is doing.

Deputy Executive Director ACEP Ben Boakye,

Source: Seibik Bugri

 

 

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