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Business News of Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Source: Daily Graphic

Petroleum revenue recorded shortfall — A-G report

The total revenue from petroleum earnings transferred into the Consolidated Fund recorded a shortfall of $513,344 of annual budget funding amount (ABFA), the 2012 Auditor General’s report has said.

According to the report, section 18 (3) of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act 2011, (Act 815) stipulates that the allocation for the ABFA shall be approved by Parliament as part of the national budget.

It, however, said that a review of the lifting of oil done during the period under review showed that there was an unpaid difference of the funds transferred into the consolidated fund.

“My review of fund allocations in respect of five oil liftings (fifth to ninth liftings) during the period under review showed that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP), in line with the Petroleum Management Act, allocated as ABFA a total of $286.55 million out of a total Petroleum Receipt of US$541, 623, 740,” the Auditor General’s 2012 report to Parliament said.

The report said a follow-up on the ABFA transfers into the Consolidated Fund also uncovered a shortfall of US$513,344.25 (equivalent of GH¢1,026,688.5) when the records of the ABFA allocations for 2012 were compared with the actual amount transferred from the Petroleum Holding Fund Account into the Consolidated Fund.

While urging the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) to reconcile its records with the statements from the Bank of Ghana and ensure that the unpaid difference of US$513,344 was transferred into the Consolidated Fund, the Auditor General further called for transparency in the management of the revenue to ensure that it benefited the general public.

In the same vein, the report also cited the failure of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to deduct income taxes and SSNIT contributions from the gross emoluments of $7.8 million paid to foreign mission staff in 2012.

It said contrary to regulation 296 of the Foreign Mission Act (FAR), 2004 and section 5 of act 592, it was observed during a review of the foreign mission payroll that though the officers on the payroll did not enjoy any tax exemptions, their incomes were not taxed.

“To ensure compliance with the FAR, as well as the Income Tax Law, I recommended to CAGD to recover the overpaid salaries and transfer same to the Ghana Revenue Authority. I also recommended to CAGD to ensure that appropriate taxes are deducted from the emoluments of all government employees,” the Auditor General stated.

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