The agriculture sector received GH¢24.1 million as its share of the country’s oil revenue in the first half of this year, the Semi-Annual Report, 2022, authored by the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), has indicated.

As one of the four priority areas selected for spending of oil revenues, the money received by the sector represented 4.57 percent of the utilised Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA).

The Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA), Act 815, provides for revenue from oil to be invested in four areas under the ABFA. The amount, which represents 66.73 percent of the projected utilisation for the entire year is an improvement over the same period last year.

This compares with the period under review when it received GH¢2.9 million representing 0.31 percent of the actual ABFA distributed for the period.

The report launched on September 27 said an amount of GH¢23. 35 million, representing 97 percent of the disbursement to this priority area, was used to support one of the government’s top flagship programmes, Planting for Food and Jobs, as well as phase II of the construction of irrigation infrastructure in Tamne in the northern part of the country for agricultural production.

“The rest of the disbursement was used for the construction of a laboratory block at the Anomabo Fisheries College. The expenditure under this priority area for the first half of 2022 represents a 722.73 percent increase over the expenditure under the same priority area for the same period in 2021,” it said.

Priority areas

Four priority areas, including agriculture, out of 12 were approved by Parliament for the utilisation of petroleum revenues by the government for the period 2020-2022, as required by the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 2011 (Act 815), as amended by Act 893 (PRMA).

The other three are roads, rail and other critical infrastructure development; physical infrastructure and service delivery in education and health; and industrialisation.

According to the report, the selected priority areas are required to be reviewed by the Minister for Finance every three years, taking into account such factors as the development needs, absorptive capacity of the economy and the need to maintain macroeconomic stability.

“Any proposed changes following the review shall be approved by Parliament. It is worthy of note that the current priority areas fall due for review at the end of 2022. In line with this, the 2023 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the government is expected to review the priority areas for parliamentary approval for the period 2023 to 2025,” the report said.

Consequently, PIAC expects that citizens’ views will be considered in the review and selection of new priority areas.

“Citizens, during PIAC public engagements, have expressed the need to avoid thin spread but rather use the petroleum revenues to wholly fund monumental capital projects, and for agricultural production,” it said.

PIAC has often encouraged an increase in allocation to agriculture, particularly projects that support production.