Account for ¢400m oil money – ACEP to MoF
The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) is demanding the Ministry of Finance to urgently explain the circumstances under which over GH¢400 million of oil revenues from 2017 is unaccounted for in the reconciliatory report.
Benjamin Boakye, Executive Director of ACEP, explains that regardless of the fact that government had GH¢733.2 million to exhaust on priority areas including the pro-poor sectors of education, agriculture and health as well as roads, only GH¢332.29 million was used, though other sectors remained unattended to.
He argues that the untouched ABFA difference could have more than sufficed in funding the total budget variance of the Public Interest Accountability Committee (PIAC), and other infrastructure.
According to the think-tank, figures in the report indicate that total disbursement of US$169 million to the Annual Budget Funding Account (ABFA) in 2017 converts into GH¢733.2 million, that is a considerable GH¢41.7 million less than the projected disbursement to the ABFA and GH¢63.1 million short in the 2017 budget.
He observed that the reported data by the Ministry is “anything short of transparent, efficient, and detailed in ABFA utilisation and reporting,” and questioned “Where is the money, and why did that money not go to the priority areas when it was available?”
ACEP, thus, wants the Ministry to provide accurate data that clarifies all the inconsistencies inherent in the report to ensure thorough understanding of the disbursement of petroleum revenues of the previous year.
Meanwhile, he has also asked that the Ministry follows due process by seeking parliamentary approval for expenditure outside the approved budget as was the case in the 2017 disbursement of $6.92 million to the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund (GIIF).
Following from a perceived disregard for parliamentary oversight on GNPC’s quota of petroleum revenues, which was GH¢33.3 million in excess of the approved budget of $45.3 million, ACEP has advised the Ministry to comply with the disbursement pattern as provided for by the Petroleum Revenue Management Act.
PIAC was also urged to pursue the issues that popped up in their 2017 review on the same report, and consequently demand explanation from the Finance Ministry on behalf of Ghanaians as required of them by law.