Accountability Mechanisms in Ghana’s 2010 Proposed Oil Legislation
This article assesses each of the July 2010 Bills vis-à-vis its potential to contribute to accountable and effective management of Ghana’s oil heritage. It asserts that the creative,forward-thinking elements of the Revenue Management Bill found their negative image in the Exploration and Production Bill, which reflected outdated conventional wisdom and failed to reflect the vibrant debate that has been going on within Ghana on petroleum accountability. We contend that the process by which the bills were formulated had a major impact on their content. The extensive consultations that fed into the Revenue Management Bill resulted in tangible changes to the document that made it simultaneously more palatable to a wide cross-section of Ghanaian society and a richer reflection of national and international perspectives on economic accountability. The E&P Bill, by contrast, appeared in Parliament with virtually no prior public vetting, which manifested itself in a text that was out-of-touch and devoid of effective strategies for enhancing accountability. The consultation process on Revenue Management was time-consuming and costly, but helped the government avoid the massive time-suck that will be experienced now that the E&P bill has been withdrawn and must be re-crafted.