Wednesday, August 19, 2015

ACEP Calls For Even Distribution Of Oil Money In Ghana

The Executive Director of the African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam has called for an even regional allocation and distribution of Ghana’s oil revenue after it emerged that the poorest regions of the country were receiving the least share of the revenue.

Dr. Amin Adam said some regions notwithstanding their enormous developmental challenges, were still being treated unfairly by government during the distribution and allocation of the oil money.

Nowhere in Ghana is poverty more pervasive than the three regions of the North. The average poverty level in the Upper West, Upper East and Northern Regions is 62 percent while the national average is 18 percent. But sadly, recent statistics from the Ministry of Finance show that the three regions of the north and Central Region receive meagre allocations of the oil revenue annually. 

For instance, during allocation of oil revenue to the country’s road sector between 2011 and 2013, the Northern Region got only 5 percent, Upper West 1 percent, Upper East 2 percent and Central Region 2 percent whereas the Eastern Region had 20 percent, Greater Accra 13 percent, Ashanti Region 19 percent and Western Region 15 percent. 

Dr. Amin Adam made the call at a regional stakeholder consultative forum held in Tamale to deliberate on low financing of the educational sector by government. The forum was organized by the Northern Network for Education Development (NNED) in collaboration with the ACEP with Support from IBIS-Ghana. 

The forum was under the theme: “Repositioning in Education Financing On Goods, Services and Assets Through Increased 2016 Annual Budget Financing Amount (ABFA) Findings and Disbursement for Education.” It was part of the implementation of a project that was currently being implemented by all three organisations.

The project according to NNED’s Executive Chairman Musah Alhassan Jawula sought to monitor the 2014 utilization and track disbursement levels of the 2015 allocated funds of 96,275,504 million dollars to education so as to influence the 2016 budget allocation to education.

Education Project Coordinator at IBIS-Ghana Mr. Eric Kavaarpuo also bemoaned the rapid decline of quality education in the country. He said despite the fact that the government of Ghana had exceeded the UNESCO benchmark (20 percent of governments’ expenditure) on education, the situation in the educational sector was still not good. 

According to him, the reason accounting for the decline in quality education could simply be attributed to a mismatch between resources government claimed it was pumping into education as against the results it was also making.

Dr. Amin Adam in a presentation said in 2012 and 2013, the Ministry of Education received GH¢20 million and GH¢10 million as against GH¢65 million and GH¢20 million received by the presidency. “Also in 2014, of the over GH¢5 billion of oil money allocated to the education sector, 75 percent of the amount went into wages and salaries while only 20 percent of the amount went into goods and services”, he explained.

He also revealed that 58.60 percent of funding in the education sector was from development partners with 2.80 percent from government whiles 1.20 percent from Internally Generated Funds by the educational institutions.                                                                     
The Executive Director of ACEP Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam enjoined stakeholders and nongovernmental organizations in education to advocate for bigger investments towards education development in the poorest parts of the country. 

Meanwhile, participants also urged government to invest more in the basic, senior high school and technical and vocational education since results in recent times left much to be desired. 

They also advocated for the creation of an office in charge of oil revenue allocation and adopt a formula similar to the one currently being used by the Administrator of the District Assembly Common Fund to allocate funds to District Assemblies to undertake development projects of their choice.

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