Planning Officers across the country have undergone training in value for money analysis on government projects.
Petroleum Revenue Management Law mandates the Finance Ministry to publish status of implementation of oil-funded projects.
A report must also be submitted to Parliament on whether the projects contribute to economic activity at the local level.
However, about 90 percent of projects either go unmonitored or never get executed.
This is because of only a national body, the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) as well as Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) select projects for monitoring.
Technical Advisor for the Ministry of Planning, Ishmael Ackah, says poor supervision of projects leads to mismanagement.
It is identified that there are three major challenges resulting in the poor or lack of supervision.
Some district assemblies are unaware there are oil-funded projects in their districts.
Ideally, the national budget should emanate from the medium-term plan of the various district assemblies which must be drawn from pressing needs in the district; unfortunately, most often this is not done.
It should be the basis for oil project selection but this is not done, the decision is often taken by the Planning Ministry.
This situation has created a gap between medium-term plan and actual implementation of projects.
The third is political: development planners are afraid that when they talk too much they might be transferred to another district which the Local government and planning are working together to deal with those issues.
To address these, all the Development Planning Officers across all the various districts, municipal and metropolitan assemblies have been trained in value for money analysis.
It was a collaboration of Ministries of Planning, Finance and Local Government and Rural Development, funded by Ghana Oil and Gas for Inclusive Growth (GOGIG).
The development planning officers will be given the list of oil-funded project, to track them, and write a report about the contractors working.
This is to generate data for media and civil society organisations for their independent checks after which they will submit the report to the Ministry of Planning then finally to Parliament so that officials who need to be questioned are invited.
Contractors will also be invited.
In addition, a status of implementation report must be published.
“Before implementation starts we send the list to planning officers, we are trying to align the planning with the budgeting so that we will not be planning for one project and doing a different thing,” Dr. Ackah added.
He spoke to LUV Business at the final training session in Kumasi for planning officers of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.
It is expected to ensure judicious use of resources for the benefit, especially, of the vulnerable.
A Petroleum Revenue Information System will have a website and all the projects will be listed, the project amount, the town, name, and address of the contractors, effect of the project, and the rate of completion etc.
For easy monitoring, it will also have a mobile application so that people can download and type the project name in your town.
It will have GPS coordinates so that wherever you are you can monitor what project is going on and its progress.
“We are looking at fiscal discipline. When you see a politician passes through our communities, you hear people say they are using our tax money. In a short-term, we want everybody to take responsibility and refer to our oil money,” he said.
This he believes will faststrack the rate of economic development and also promote equity.
Source: Prince Appiah | Luv FM | firstname.lastname@example.org