Mr Adam Mutawakilu, Ranking Member, Parliamentary Select Committee on Mines and Energy, says it is incumbent on the public to identify legacy projects from the proceeds of revenue emanating from oil and gas. He said there were currently over 160 projects, which proceeds from oil and gas were to be used in executing.
However, he said, monies used in all those projects were not adequate enough to complete them hence the public was unable to evaluate their impact on the people. Mr Mutawakilu was speaking at the launch of a project dubbed: “Enhancing the Role of the Media to Promote Oil and Gas Sector Transparency and Accountability,” in Accra on Wednesday.
Under the project 10 journalists are being trained for 10 days and equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to better inform the public and civil society on oil and gas issues. It also aimed at increasing transparency and accountability through effective oversight on oil and gas resources and revenue management.
It was organised by Penplusbyte, a new media hub in Accra, in collaboration with Ghana Oil and Gas for Inclusive Growth (GOGIG). Mr Mutawakilu said the public should also be involved in identifying those legacy projects adding that discussions on them should not be conducted along political lines.
He, therefore, said government must prioritise legacy projects instead of embarking on numerous projects simultaneously as that did not augur well under the Petroleum Management Act.
Comparing the Gas Infrastructure projects and those under the oil sector, Mr Mutawakilu said it was easy to quantify those projects under the Gas Infrastructure but the situation was different under the oil sector. Much resources were pumped into the oil sector as a result of exploration, appraisal and production and so it was important the nation got things right, he said.
“If you don’t get things right you end sinking so much money in the sector and in the end get little money from oil and gas,” he said. He said he was happy that Ghana had put in place Legal and Legislative Instruments (LIs), which has spared the country of scandals in the oil and gas sector.
“We are also operationalising more LI’s to respond to every activity,” he said.
Mr Mutawakilu underscored the critical role the media played in oil and gas revenue noting that “without the media, we will be in the dark in terms of information. It is only the media that get the public to listen to how our revenues are managed”. He, therefore, commended the organisers for empowering the media to bring up issues so that the nation would be known as a hub of accountability and transparency.
Mr Mutawakilu declared his support for laws that would prosecute people who do not use revenue of oil and gas for stated projects. Mr George Sarpong, the Executive Secretary of the National Media Commission (NMC), lauded the organisers for equipping journalists with the requisite skills to report on Oil and Gas revenue accountability and transparency.
Mr Kwame Ahiabenu, the Executive Director of Pensplusbyte, said the public ought to be informed of how revenue from Oil and gas were managed adding that skills of journalists must be sharpened so they could report accurately.