Saturday, 20 March 2021

ACEP takes on finance ministry on 'snobbish' attitude on oil revenue accountability

 

By Zaratu Yussif


The African Center for Energy Policy (ACEP) has taken a swipe at the ministry of finance officials for their 'snobbish' attitude on oil revenue accountability.

The energy policy think-tank is worried at the recurring instances the ministry of finance failed to respond nor accounted to Parliament and the good people of Ghana on some unaccounted and misapplied oil revenues despite numerous attempts by CSOs.

The Petroleum Revenue Management Act 2015 (Amendment) Act 893, was enacted with the objective of, inter alia, monitoring the use of petroleum revenue to ensure transparency, accountability and efficiency in the utilisation of Ghana's oil revenue. However, some watchdog groups are worried with the disregard by the finance ministry to provide answers and better particulars on outstanding and unaccounted oil monies.

"The Ministry of Finance hardly responds to questions on petroleum projects", Ben Boakye, Executive Director of ACEP disclosed during a virtual national dialogue on extractive governance organized by the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI).

"In 2014 GHC 666 million as the balance of Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) was swept by Bank of Ghana (BoG). Also, the ministry has been cited for violating some aspects of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act(PRMA) 893."

The Centre elaborated that "the Ministry of Finance has failed to give detailed descriptions on how petroleum revenues are being managed and utilised as they just give numerical description to the performance of the petroleum revenues received."

Mr Boakye also noted that between 2017 and 2019, the ABFA’s unspent balance stood at GHC1.4 billion and this was not reported until December 2020. 

He disclosed that there have been records of some ghost projects that are yet to be identified. He said “some projects reported by the Ministry to have received funding from oil revenues cannot be traced”. 

"Has the Ministry been lying to the citizenry? 

The Centre has also urged Parliament to track these accountability infractions.

According to ACEP figures, US$5.9 billion was the total amount disbursed from the Petroleum Holding Fund from 2011 to 2019.

 The ABFA was the largest recipient of allocations receiving about US$ 2.2 billion ( representing about 38.6% of total receipts).

Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) received about 30% representing (US$1.8 billion) and the Ghana Stabilisation Fund and Ghana Heritage fund also received US$1.27 and US$535.5 million respectively

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