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Ghana: Petroleum Revenue Management Bill Discussed

(Aug. 11, 2010) It was reported on August 9, 2010, that a two-day workshop on the Petroleum Revenue Management Bill, which is currently under consideration by the 230–member unicameral Ghanaian Parliament, was conducted for Members of Parliament and civil society organizations. (Stephen Odoi-Larbi, Stakeholders Discuss Petroleum Revenue Management Bill, THE CHRONICLE (Aug. 9, 2010),

If enacted in its current form, the proposal on the subject drafted by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MFEP), which is said to have been based on the Norwegian model, will establish three accounts for petroleum revenues:

· the Ghana Petroleum Account at the Central Bank, the sole purpose of which will be to receive all petroleum revenues due the state;

· the Ghana Heritage Fund, whose purpose is to generate an alternate stream of income to support public expenditureand”provide a heritage for future generations of citizens”; and

· the Ghana Stabilization Fund, which will serve as an emergency account of sorts, to be available during times of revenue deficits. (MFEP, Ghana Petroleum Revenue Management: Proposal, §2 (May 10, 2010),

The proposal prohibits certain uses of the above-listed accounts and introduces accountability and transparency measures. It prohibits the use of the assets for extending credit to any government or private entity or as collateral for debts. It also prohibits borrowing against the accounts. (Id. at §3). It mandates that the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning must publish all records of petroleum payments or receipts in the GHANAIAN GAZETTE and in two national daily newspapers. It also requires that all such information be made available online on the Ministry's and the Parliament's websites. (Id. at 13.) In addition, the bill provides clear mechanisms for disbursing the funds in the accounts. (Id. at part 3.)

One of the criticisms made at the forum against the adoption of a petroleum revenue management bill was that it may lead to what is known as the “Dutch Disease,” in which non-resource industries are negatively impacted by the increase in wealth generated by the resource-based industries (Odoi-Larbi, supra). There is also concern that implementation of such a bill might lead to what is known as the “resource curse phenomenon,” political tension as a result of competition for access to the accounts, uprisings in the exploration region as a result of neglect and degradation, and economic problems. (Kofi Bentil, The Problems with Ghana's Proposed Oil Revenue Management Bill, MODERN GHANA (May 26, 2010),