Can Oil and Accountability Mix? Ghana’s Experiment with Citizen Oversight of Petroleum Revenues
Keynote speaker: Major Daniel Sowa Ablorh-Quarcoo, Chairman, Ghana Public Interest and Accountability Committee
Discussants: Mohammed Amin Adam, Coordinator, Africa Against Poverty, IBIS Ghana (former convener, Ghana Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas), Andrew Bauer, Economic Analyst, Revenue Watch Institute Moderator: Ian Gary, Senior Policy Manager – Extractive Industries, Oxfam America
Background: Ghana’s recent start of production of the offshore Jubilee oil field in late 2010 has been cause for both hope and concern. There has been significant attention on the challenges Ghana will face as well as issues related to Ghana’s readiness to manage billions of dollars in new oil wealth. In 2011, both the Petroleum Revenue Management Act and Petroleum Commission Act were signed into law, establishing new institutions such as the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC - http://piacghana.org ) and the Petroleum Commission designed to independently monitor and regulate the sector. Along with key transparency provisions, civil society groups campaigned strongly to keep the PIAC in the Petroleum Revenue Management Act. The PIAC was launched in September last year and has just published its first report looking at the compliance by the government with the Revenue Management Act and giving an independent assessment of the management and use of petroleum revenues. As Ghana’s Public Agenda newspaper said after the report launch, the PIAC is “an innovation that sets Ghana's petroleum revenue management strategy apart from even those that are considered international best practices and indeed the world is watching to see how it plays out.” According to PIAC, the body has had to “operate under very difficult conditions since the State has not provided any resources to it since its inception” and has relied on international organizations such as the Revenue Watch Institute and GIZ for support. Will the PIAC prove to be a sustainable model for citizen oversight of petroleum revenues in an emerging oil producer, serving as a positive example for possible future producers such as Uganda, Kenya, Liberia and Sierra Leone? Or, will it suffer from neglect and be unable to robustly fulfill its mandate? Please join Oxfam America and Revenue Watch Institute for the Washington launch of the first PIAC report and a timely discussion of this experiment in citizen oversight of petroleum revenues.