A lecturer at the Department of Accountancy and Finance School of Business of the University of Cape Coast Dr John Gatsi has called for the diversification of a percentage of the heritage fund in key sectors of the country’s economy.
He said though there are international reserves benefits for investing the heritage fund, the proper thing to do is to diversify the investment in key sectors of Ghana’s economy and ensure that the investment are protected and at the same time used to develop the country’s infrastructure.
Dr Gatsi said it was not proper to invest all the money outside the country bearing in mind that countries are not immune to financial challenges anymore.
”We recently realized that some European countries were described as having debt crisis which means that some states were not able to pay their debt and so if those countries have come to a point that they cannot pay their debt, then the inscription in the law that we should invest wholly in instrument issued by sovereign states and international financial institutions is not itself protected.”
Dr John Gatsi made this suggestion at a training workshop organized by the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalist (IFEJ) for 30 journalists in Kumasi.
He said the country can learn some lessons from SSNIT which has invested in huge infrastructure with some rewards, adding that even though there were challenges sometimes, the pension system still remains resolute.
He added if part of the heritage fund is put in similar investment in Ghana the country is likely to benefit more than the current decision to invest it outside the country.
The Heritage Fund is an endowment reserve set up to “support the development for future generations when Ghana’s petroleum reserves have been depleted” he explained.
The Petroleum Revenue Management Act of 2011 makes provisions for nine per cent of the country’s annual petroleum revenue to be lodged into this fund whilst 21 per cent of the annual oil revenues goes into a Stabilisation Fund- to support the economy in dire times and 70 per cent used to support the budget.
Dr. Gatsi called for a crucial professional demand for accountability in the management of the oil revenue.
He said records have shown that in countries where the demand for accountability, transparency, good stewardship, good governance and responsibility in the management of the petroleum resources are present there have been remarkable improvements in management at the upstream and management with respect to the revenue.
“So I think it is crucial to have a professional demand for accountability not noise making for accountability”, he indicated.
Source: Joy Online