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Government has breached Petroleum Act — PIAC

Chairman of PIAC, Dr Steve Manteaw

The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) has cited the government for breaching the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA) 2011 (Act 815) in the disbursement of petroleum revenue.

According to PIAC, the government had spent more on goods and services, instead of capital expenditure, as required by the law.

In its 2017 Annual Report presented at a public forum in Takoradi on Monday, PIAC said only 37 per cent of the utilised Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) was directed to capital expenditure, while other wrongful payments and activities were carried out, against the law.

Committee not happy

Presenting the report, the Chairman of PIAC, Dr Emmanuel Stephen Manteaw, said the committee was not happy about the fact that the remaining 63 per cent was utilised for the supply of goods, including hospital, school and fertiliser supplies and services.

Taking participants in the forum through the report, Dr Manteaw said total petroleum receipts between 2011 and 2017 amounted to $4.04 billion.

Out of the amount, the ABFA was allocated $1,696.60 billion, representing 42 per cent; the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) received $1,239.44 billion, accounting for 31 per cent, while the Ghana Heritage Fund (GHF) had $323.72 million, constituting eight per cent, and the Ghana Stabilisation Fund (GSF) was allocated $776.54 million, representing 19 per cent.

However, in 2017, he said, the expenditure, as reported by the Ministry of Finance, did not conform to the requirement to spend at least 70 per cent of the ABFA on capital expenditure.

“What has happened is a complete disregard for the law and the Ministry of Finance must, therefore, comply with the provisions of Section 21(4) of Act 815 in respect of public investment expenditure,” he said.

Parliament must act

“PIAC, therefore, wants Parliament to take steps to ensure that the minister complies with the budget, as approved, and all unspent ABFA allocations in a particular financial year must be returned to the PHF,” he said.

“I want to know the whereabouts of the remaining money allocated to the ABFA? We want a lot of issues covering the whereabouts of the money to be established,” he noted.

Dr Manteaw said the Investment Advisory Committee (IAC) in the act should be put in place to advise the sector minister in the face of all those expenditures and various wrong allocations.

He said that among other key findings which were of interest to the committee was the Volta River Authority’s indebtedness of $731.35 million to the Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC) for the supply of lean gas.

Dr Manteaw said PIAC wanted improved transparency in the management and disbursement of the Energy Sector Levy Act (ESLA) Fund which was established to help liquidate the energy sector’s indebtedness.

For her part, the Deputy Western Regional Minister, Ms Gifty Eugenia Kusi, commended PIAC for keeping the public informed about the income and expenditure of the government in the area of oil and gas proceeds.

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