Government urged to introduce sanctions into PRMA

A proposal has been made for government to introduce sanctions or penalties into provisions of the proposed amendment of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA) of 2011 to ensure strict compliance with the law. Mr Mohammed Saani Alhassan, Northern Regional Chairman of the National Association of Graduate Teachers, made this proposal at a multi-stakeholder forum on the proposed changes to the PRMA organised by the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) in Tamale on Thursday. The forum, which brought together representatives of civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations amongst other institutions in the region, was to collate stakeholder inputs on the proposed amendments to the PRMA. The Ministry of Finance has proposed changes to eight provisions of the PRMA, which relate to oil revenue disbursement and distribution as well as funding of the Public Interest and accountability Committee (PIAC). Mr Saani Alhassan said the current state of the PRMA, which did not include sanctions or penalties for individuals or institutions for violating it, could influence such bodies to violate it with alacrity. He cited instances of other laws that were passed without regulations or sanctions saying such laws were not being followed strictly because people or institutions knew that no sanctions awaited them. He, therefore, emphasized the need to introduce sanctions into the proposed clauses to be amended in view of the fact that the oil sector was a major avenue for generating resources to develop the country. Mr Abdul-Kareem Ibrahim Afa-Zie, Northern Zonal Representative of the Local Governance Network, an NGO, proposed that the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) should focus on its core mandate rather than diversifying its activities. He said this would make the GNPC to concentrate on its core activities to ensure efficiency. Other proposals included the fact that the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament and the Auditor General should complement the activities of the PIAC to ensure efficiency. Mr Benjamin Boakye, Director of Operation of ACEP said the proposals would be presented to the Ministry of Finance to inform the decision to amend the proposed specific clauses of the PRMA. Mr Boakye said the amendments could be done early next year.