Ghana leads the way in managing natural resources in Africa

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Posted on June 3, 2012

by Jacques Bahati

Natural resources in Africa are considered to be a curse instead of a blessing, but Ghana is determined to change this assertion.  Neocolonialist efforts to plunder Africa’s natural resources aside, African governments are guilty of mismanaging natural resources revenues.   The Ghanaian government took a different direction in 2011 when it signed the Petroleum Revenue Management Act and Petroleum Commission Act into law.  This new law established two new institutions: the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) and the Petroleum Commission, both designed to independently monitor and regulate the oil sector.

In compliance with the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (Act 815), the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) which started its work in October 2011, just released its first report on the Petroleum Revenue Management for 2011.  After the report was published, Ghana’s Public Agenda newspaper described the PIAC as “an innovation that sets Ghana's petroleum revenue management strategy apart from even those that are considered international best practices and indeed the world is watching to see how it plays out.”  The PIAC is one of few models for nations encountering corruption and embezzlement in the handling of their natural resources' revenue.

Mr. Major Daniel Sowa Ablorh-Quarcoo, Chairman of Ghana's Public Interest and Accountability Committee, presented the report at Oxfam USA in Washington DC on June 1st (watch webcast).  He shared the panel with Mr. Mohammed Amin Adam, former convener of the Ghana Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas and National Oil Coordinator of Publish What You Pay – Ghana, a civil society coalition focused on promoting the transparent and accountable management of oil and mineral wealth.  Contrary to what is happening in many African nations, the Ghanaian civil society is seen as partner with the government, said Mr. Mohamed.  For this reason, there is guaranteed forum to express any views regarding the management of oil revenues and much more.

Ghana still has a long way to go to ensure oil companies pay their dues and comply with environmental standards.