Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Advises Ghana: Ensure Transparency In Management Of Oil Revenue.
Ghana must ensure total transparency in its management of oil revenue if the oil discovery is to be a blessing to the country, Nigeria’s Finance Minister; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said.
Speaking at the second J.A Kuffour lecture on the theme “What Africa must do to own the 21st century” at the international conference centre on Friday Madam Okonjo-Iweala said “You in Ghana have recently discovered oil, we’ve been living with it in Nigeria for 60 years. We’ve had oil and all is ‘wahala’ since 1956; if I can provide any sisterly advice on this; it is that you should be uncompromising on issues of transparency and accountability in that sector.”
“In Ghana you have started on the note of learning lessons from some of the mistakes of others, including Nigeria. You currently petroleum revenue management act is being praised because it specifies how petroleum revenue should be collected and also allocated.”
Madam Okonjo-Iweala urged government to pay particular attention to reducing its domestic debts as the country struggles with its fiscal deficits.
“I know that Ghana is struggling with its fiscal debt and with rising public domestic debt and these are things that need to be watched carefully.”
She also identified good leadership and accountability in governance as key to the successes choked by Africa over the last two decades and should be strengthened to achieve the potentials of the continent.
“I recently met with some institutional investors in Boston and it is clear they are now looking very seriously at Africa and the news goes on. The Economist magazine which did not seem to like Africa in the past, now praises the continent. But so far Africa has definitely kicked off this 21st century on a very strong note.”
“Development depends on good governance; without accountable governments and strong institutions our continent will not claim this 21st century,” she noted.
The Nigeria Finance Minister also encouraged African leaders to refuse the attempt by huge corporations to fund political parties and campaigns during elections as pertains in some European countries.
“The other key issue which is also not much discussed is how to minimize political corruption from infecting our democracies; no one wants to discuss the big problem of how we finance the democratic process.”
How do we finance election campaigns and political parties; where do the resources come from…? She asked.
“In many developing countries what we are beginning to observe is this close relationship between politics and business; businesses provide the financial support to get politicians elected and then in turn they get substantial favours which helps them recoup some of their investments.”
“Why must we replicate what goes on elsewhere; why can’t Africa lead the way in this endeavour and avoid the mistakes of western countries,” she added.
Ms. Okonjo-Iweala further challenged African leaders to ensure the road toward African unity is quickened to unleash its unlimited potential.
By: Evans Effah/Citifmonline