Poor citizenry oversight enabler of natural resource mismanagement – ACEP

The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) is calling for active citizen participation in ensuring that the nation’s extractive resources are properly managed for the benefit of all.

Mr Kodzo Yaotse, Policy Lead for Petroleum and Conventional Energy at the Organisation speaking at a campus engagement at the Ho Technical University, said the appetite of citizens for accountability continued to diminish, leaving the fight to only a few.

The engagement was on the theme; “Strengthening Accountability for Resource Governance through Active Citizenship.”

Mr Yaotse said through such forums, “the organisation is building a constituency of active citizens,” urging the students as citizens, to follow state happenings as they get themselves updated on the issues.

“We need a critical mass of people who are interested or vested in the things happening in the sector. We need citizenship that masses up for accountability. We should show that we can push them to the wall,” the policy lead stated.

He noted that the nation’s petroleum receipts totaled over USD 8 billion from when the well first broke in 2011, while the mining sector had contributed about 48 percent to the exports, and said these were “huge monies” that could transform the country, and that an unconcerned citizenry should take part of the blame for the paradox of plenty.

“Corruption would only fester if citizens are not active. Institutions would grow weaker if citizens are not active. The expenditure of resources would only be inefficient if citizens are not active.” 

“So, we are part of the problem, and we have to find a way of bridging the missing link between the resources that we have and the development that we envisage,” Mr. Yaotse added.

Helping the students expand knowledge on the nation’s petroleum sector and the structure of revenue management, he indicated that informing citizens on the happenings in the extractive sector would help safeguard and ensure that disbursements were within the constitutional frameworks and met their intended uses.

He said citizen vigilance was needed to protect public funds such as the Annual budget Funding Amount (ABFA), and that several key sectors for investment including water, health, and transportation would require citizen push to be realised, adding, “So, much money has been invested in such sectors yet there is little improvement.”

He added that currently, there was a trend where allocations and disbursements from the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) replaced traditional funding sources for most State social interventions, which limited the impact of the utilisation of these revenues, hence, the need to place duty bearers on their toes.

The campus engagement by ACEP is part of a nationwide initiative, and the Ho edition was in collaboration with the Ho Technical University’s Department of Management Science and was Chaired by Madam Eli Atatsi, Head of the Department.

 Students from some Senior High Schools in the area including Ola Girls Senior High School, Mawuli School, St Prosper’s College, and Mawuko Girls Senior High School, participated in the engagement. 

Source: Ghana Web