Business News of 2014-07-29

GNPC must be accountable - CEPIL

The Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL) has called on the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to provide detailed information on the utilisation of more than US$8million which has been reserved since 2012 for corporate investment projects.
According to CEPIL, it is suspected that part of the money went into the sponsorship of the Ghana Black Stars preparation and participation in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. It is, therefore, asking the GNPC to publish the full package of its sponsorship of the Black Stars.
In a report launched by CEPIL in collaboration with Star-Ghana on July 22, in Accra, CEPIL also called for more transparency on GNPC’s use of its revenues since its accountability to Parliament on the utilisation of its share of revenues was not sufficient. “There should be detailed explanations on the expenditure items rather than the aggregate data being reported,” it pointed out.
GNPC refutes claims
But in a sharp rebutal, the Public Relations Officer of the GNPC, Mr Ato Kobbie, in an interview with the GRAPHIC BUSINESS said what the GNPC presented to parliament was not the aggregate data but a complete breakdown of figures. “They should have checked from parliament before publishing the report,” he said. Mr Ato Kobbie said the GNPC’s full sponsorship package for the Black Stars was already known to the public.
He said Parliament in 2013 approved of a US$ 3 million per annum sponsorship package for the Black Stars which was made known to the public through a media launch.
He said the monies allocated to the company were based on programmes which it sent to Parliament and approved before the allocations were made. “In the case where the money allocated in a particular year is not used, it is rolled over to the following year,” he said.
Capitalisation of Ghana Gas from ABFA not legitimate The report also cited the capitalisation of the Ghana Gas project from the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) as a violation of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA).
The report stated that, the allocation from the ABFA instead of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation’s (GNPC) share of revenues was not consistent with the spirit of the law.
The Executive Director of CEPIL, Mr Augustine Niber, said as of September 30, 2013, government had disbursed US$ 89.8 million as part of the US$150 million counterpart funding for the China Development Bank (CDB) loan of US$3 billion to finance the Ghana Gas Infrastructure Project at Atuabo.
He said another US$114,883,351 was allocated to Ghana Gas which brought the counterpart funding to US$ 204,683,351. Mr Niber said although the capitalisation of Ghana Gas from the ABFA may be good, it was not legitimate. He suspected that this may be the reason GNPC had not been able to spend the US$141,701,764.14 of the total cash allocated to it in 2012 and 2013.
Some other findings
The report also stated that, the government continues to allocate a significant portion of the PRMA to the expenditure and amortisation of oil and gas infrastructure loans which was contrary to the provisions of the law.
It further stated that the government had conveniently avoided the development of a long-term national development plan required by the law as a result of the exceptional clause in section 21(2) under which about 12 areas where the oil revenues could be spent are listed.
The report, however, made some recommendations which included a call on the government to develop a public investment management plan and a law that ensured that value for money considerations were incorporated into investment decision which will prevent the thin distribution of oil revenues and ensure that projects do not suffer time and costs overruns.
The report also pointed out the development of a long-term national development as a necessity to prevent ad hoc spending of oil revenues and the accompanying misapplication of resources.
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