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General News of Monday, 25 June 2018

Source: Myjoyonline.com

PIAC indicts government for breaches of oil revenue management

The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) has indicted government for its breaches of the country’s oil revenue management laws.

The Committee in its latest report revealed that government's majority use of the oil money was in the non-capital projects including the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy.

Regarding breaches, in what the report described as ‘a major concern’ in their findings in 2017, it said only 37 percent of the utilized Annual Budgetary Funding Amount (ABFA), was used for capital expenditure.

An amount of ¢332.29 million of the ABFA’s ¢736.03 million allocations was utilised, leaving ¢403.74 million unutilised as at the end of 2017.

‘When added to the 2016 balance of GH¢77.73 million, total ABFA brought forward to 2018 stands at GH¢481.47 million,’ it said.

It further stated that ‘out of the amount utilised from the ABFA, ¢202.38 million (61%) was spent on education; ¢49.07 million (3%) on Agriculture; ¢41.62 million (12%) on Road, Rail and other critical infrastructure; ¢29.22 million (9%) on GIIF; ¢8.66 million (3%) on Health; and ¢1.35 million (0.4%) on PIAC.’

Also, PIAC raised red flags about $13 million that it said was wrongfully paid into Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) accounts that has since not been transferred into the Petroleum Holding Fund.

The Committee said it finds the recurrence of wrongful lodgement of petroleum funds into GRA accounts unacceptable.

It went further to instruct that ‘GRA must immediately transfer the accumulated funds into the PHF. The MoF must provide guidelines to forestall similar occurrences.’

‘Total petroleum receipts paid into the Petroleum Holding Fund in 2017 was $539,832,157.44. Additionally, an amount of $579,278.46 was earned as interest on undistributed funds held in the Petroleum Holding Fund during the year,’ the report said.

Based on its findings, PIAC made a number of recommendations for the consideration of key state actors involved in the management of Ghana’s petroleum revenues.

It said expenditure, as reported by the Finance Ministry, does not conform to the requirement to spend at least 70% of the ABFA on Capital Expenditure.

‘The Finance Ministry must, therefore, comply with the provisions of Section 21 (4) of Act 815 in respect of public investment expenditure,’ PIAC said.