GH¢90m Oil Cash Missing

Seth Terkper – Minister of Finance
It has been revealed that close to GH¢90 million of oil cash appears to be unaccounted for by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP).

The revelation was made by the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) – the body set up to monitor Ghana’s oil revenue and utilisation.

The PIAC report, which bordered on the management of petroleum revenues for 2013 and released recently, stated that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning had indicated that it disbursed the amount to the Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC) but the gas company denied receipt of such funds.

PIAC had specifically said it had found out that a total of GH¢137.92 million was reportedly disbursed to the GNGC as part of the expenditure and amortisation of loans for oil and gas, but DAILY GUIDE learnt that the amount was coming from counterpart funding for the gas project.

When the committee reverted to the ministry to clarify Ghana gas’ denial, the Seth Terkper-led outfit admitted that the disbursement did not go to the GNGC as earlier stated, but could not also tell where the cash had gone to.

‘A total of GH¢137.92 million went into Expenditure and Amortisation of Loans for Oil and Gas Infrastructure in 2013 with GH¢119.88 million (representing 87%) reported to have been disbursed to the GNGC as part of its initial set-up cost and the remaining GH¢18.04 million (13%) paid as interest on the CDB loan,’ the report said.

‘Approximately 20% of the ABFA (GH¢257.92 million) has been used to cover costs associated with loan(s) contracted to develop oil and gas infrastructure between 2011 and 2013,’ the report added.

PIAC said in its 2013 semi-annual report, the committee reported that the GNGC had been paid GH¢40 million out of the GH¢69 million, leaving an outstanding balance of GH¢29 million, which the GNGC was expecting from the Government of Ghana as part of institutional support strategy adopted by it (Government).

It also emerged that the government spent a whooping GH¢257.92 million of the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) on the development of oil and gas infrastructure between 2011 and 2013.

GNGC Denial
The report maintained that in the second half of 2013, the GNGC indicated that the company did not receive any more funds from the government, contrary to information provided to PIAC by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, and called on the ministry ‘to check their records and correct the serious anomaly.’

It further said approximately GH¢257.9 million of the ABFA had been spent on the Western Corridor Gas Infrastructure Development Project (WCGIDP) over the three-year period, less the amount of GH¢85.82 million needed to be clarified by the ministry.

Capacity Building
According to the report, approximately GH¢133 million (representing 10% of ABFA-funding) had been used for various capacity building interventions since 2011 and GH¢20.18 million of the 2013 ABFA of GH¢543.78 million (representing 3.7%), was allocated to the Capacity Building Priority Area, compared to GH¢111.96 million (21.7%) of GH¢516.83 million disbursed in 2012.

It said, ‘GH¢12 million (60%) of ABFA earmarked for building capacity in 2013 was put into loanable funds such as the Venture Capital Fund and Exim Guarantee Fund, compared to GH¢47 million invested into the same funds as well as the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) in 2012.

‘Another GH¢30 million (or 22.57%) of the ABFA allocations for Capacity Building was used to fund components of the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP)/Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) modules in 2012, while GH¢13.74 million (or 10.33%) was used to pay for goods and services procured by two ministries – Ministry of Food and Agriculture(GH¢11.95 million) and Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (GH¢1.79 million) in 2012.’

PIAC discovered that ‘the Capacity Building Priority Area appears to be a category under which some expenditure which may not be related to capacity building, has been classified and the impact of some of these expenditures is difficult to assess.’

It said further that ‘only GH¢8.93 million (representing 6.7%) of the total allocations to the Capacity Building Priority Area has gone into developing capacity in the oil and gas sector over the three-year period between 2011 and 2013.’

The report posited, ‘Approximately GH¢23 million (or 17%) of ABFA earmarked for Capacity Building between 2011 – 2013, went into consumables (such as ‘goods and services’ for MoFA and MLNR, NADMO relief items); GH¢2 million was used to support the Creative Industry while another GH¢8.1 million was given out as cash transfer under the LEAP.’

It also said, ‘GH¢35 million has been pumped into MASLOC while another GH¢19 million has been used to set up Venture Capital Fund and Exim Guarantee Fund and the Petroleum Commission received support of $8.18 million in 2013.’

By William Yaw Owusu

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