President Akufo-Addo, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, has implemented a good number of programs and initiatives that have significantly cushion Ghanaians and ameliorated the economic challenges confronting them as a result of the pandemic. These measures by the Government were greeted with loud cheers and commendation from Ghanaians.
The NDC realizing this high performance ratings from Ghanaians to the Government and it’s potential electoral benefits, has cunningly positioned themselves to share the accruing credit with the government.
The NDC, acting through John Abdulai Jonapor, has argued that Mr. Mahama must be equally commended for making monies available through the Stabilization Fund for President Akufo-Addo to use to cushion Ghanaians against the concomitant economic challenges of COVID-19. They contend that, it was through the ingenuity of Mr. Mahama and the NDC that both the Stabilization Fund and Heritage Fund were created.
This assertion is simply false and smacks of juvenile propaganda. The facts as contained in events leading to the development and enactment of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act 2011, ACT 893, that established both the Stabilization Fund and Heritage Fund do not support the NDC’s claim.
The facts rather show conclusively that the NDC government was never interested in social accountability and thus was lackadaisical in enacting the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, impliedly the Stabilization Fund and Heritage Fund.
For the avoidance of doubt and to set the records straight, it must be stated:
- That the Petroleum Revenue Management Act 2011, ACT 893 was not enacted under the Mahama Administration (2012-2016).
- That the process of establishing an effective and relevant legislative and regulatory Framework to manage the Oil Sector, including oil revenue, started in 2008, under Fmr. President Kuffour’s Administration. With the aim of ensuring social accountability and to avoid Ghana being a victim of the “resource/ Oil curse”, the Kuffour led NPP government, in February 2008, organized the first national conference on oil and gas management and invited representatives from civil society and relevant stakeholders to assist in drafting a working Petroleum Revenue Management Policy (PRMP).
- That the NPP Government prior to this (point 1) had commenced engagements with external experts and governments ostensibly to design a robust PRMP. This is evident in paragraph 170 of the 2008 budget that states that “in anticipation of increase in the production of petroleum products in the near future, as well as management ancillary businesss that would emerge from the exploration of the discovered petroleum fields, the Government is collaborating with the Norwegian Government to build capacity and develop policy framework to deal with issues of petroleum revenue and resource management, as well as environmental, security and related issues”.
- That upon assumption of office in 2009, the NDC abandoned the all processes and initiatives set in motion by the Kuffour Administration, including the construction of a Gas Plant. They were simply not interested in social accountability for the obvious reason of mismanaging, misappropriating and stealing the oil monies. This is evident in the fact that when oil production began in 2010, there was no revenue-management law and no independent regulator for the oil and gas sector. The existing law then, passed in 1984, governing the upstream segment of the industry—exploration, development, and production—was a legislative holdover from the early years of the last military-backed regime.
- That, outraged by the staggering legislative and regulatory weaknesses and gaps, several civil society groups called for a moratorium on the issuance of new exploration licenses until a new legal and regulatory regime could be developed. In March 2010, more than 110 civil society groups, including policy and governance think tanks and research organizations, human-rights and environmental groups, and community-based organizations from coastal districts near the Jubilee field, joined with local oil-policy experts and activists to formed a group called the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas with the sole aim of pressurizing the NDC Government to consider and present to Parliament for passage, a proposed bill on Petroleum Revenue Management and related policies.
- That the Minority (NPP MPs) in Parliament then was also vociferous and constructively loud in advocating for such a bill to be passed. This patriotic act of the Minority in Parliament was acknowledged by E. Gyimah-Boadi and Prof. H. Kwesi Prempeh in their journal tilted “Oil, Politics and Ghana’s Democracy”, published by the Journal of Democracy in July, 2012. They asserted that “the presence in Parliament of a strong opposition party has added exceptional vibrancy to legislative deliberations and ensured that government actions will not escape scrutiny…civil society, working with Parliament, has been able to make significant contributions to the development of petroleum policy and legislation.”
- That radio and television programs across the country featured regular, often impassioned, debates and commentary on the legislation, particularly the PRMA, which addressed how the government’s share of oil proceeds would be managed and monitored.
- That the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas with technical support from Oxfam America, the Revenue Watch Institute, and the World Bank, collaborated with Parliament, government and the media to design the oil-management framework that underpinned the enactment of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act.
- That the clear procedures for the custody and transfer of petroleum receipts between the central bank, as designated custodian, and the government; the mandatory annual transfer of 30 percent of total petroleum revenues into separate stabilization and future savings funds are the brainchild or sole ingenuity of the Oil and Gas Platform (Civil Society).
If the NPP government had not lost the 2008 elections, Ghana would have still enacted the PRMA with both the Stabilization Fund and Heritage Fund, would have done that even much earlier.
It must be reiterated that it is not correct for the NDC to suggest that the establishment of the Stabilization Fund and Heritage Fund was the brainchild of Mr. Mahama. The fact that the bill was passed under an NDC regime doesn’t make Mahama the brain behind it.
For emphasis, it was the sole ingenuity of a group called Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas that got the Stabilization Fund and Heritage Fund enshrined in the existing Petroleum Revenue Management Act.
Issued by NPP YOUTH WING
THE YOUTH MUST KNOW SERIES