The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) is advocating for active citizen participation in ensuring that Ghana's extractive resources are managed for the benefit of all.
Speaking at a campus engagement at the Ho Technical University, Mr Kodzo Yaotse, Policy Lead for Petroleum and Conventional Energy at ACEP, noted that the diminishing appetite of citizens for accountability leaves the fight to only a few.
The engagement was themed “Strengthening Accountability for Resource Governance through Active Citizenship.”
Mr Yaotse urged the students to follow State happenings and update themselves on resource governance issues, stating that through such forums, the organisation is building a constituency of active citizens.
He added that the organisation needs a critical mass of people who are interested or vested in the extractive sector and called for citizenship that masses up for accountability.
Mr Yaotse highlighted that the nation's petroleum receipts totalled over USD 8 billion since the first well was established in 2011, while the mining sector contributed about 48 per cent to exports, representing “huge monies” that could transform the country.
He, however, stated that the unconcerned citizenry should take part of the blame for the paradox of plenty.
According to Mr Yaotse, corruption would fester, institutions would grow weaker, and the expenditure of resources would be inefficient if citizens are not active.
He noted that citizens are part of the problem and need to find a way of bridging the missing link between the resources available and the development envisaged.
The ACEP Policy Lead informed students on the nation's petroleum sector and the structure of revenue management, stating that informing citizens on extractive sector happenings would help ensure that disbursements were within constitutional frameworks and met their intended uses.
He added that citizen vigilance was needed to protect public funds such as the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA).
Mr Yaotse noted that several key sectors for investment, including water, health, and transportation, would require citizen push to be realized.
He added that much money had been invested in such sectors, yet there was little improvement. Currently, there is a trend where allocations and disbursements from the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) replace traditional funding sources for most State social interventions, limiting the impact of the utilisation of these revenues.
The event was chaired by Madam Eli Atatsi, Head of the Department. Participating schools included Ola Girls Senior High School, Mawuli School, St Prosper's College, and Mawuko Girls Senior High School.