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Opinions of Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Columnist: Myjoyonline.com

GNPC justifies giving Okyehene GH¢1.5m to plant trees

The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has justified a board decision to approve GH¢1.5 million to Okyehene, Amoatia Ofori Panin, for a tree-planting project.

Earlier reports had indicated that the money was approved for the 20th anniversary of the paramount chief of the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area, fueling concerns that the GNPC was expending oil funds on other things but its core mandate.

The concerns about GNPC spending heavily on non-core activities have arisen again after details of the financial requests by GNPC’s Brand, Communication and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) committee approved board on October 25, emerged.

But clarifying matters, the General Manager of Sustainability Division at GNPC, Dr Kwame Baah-Nuakoh, said the GH¢1.5 million for the tree planting project will be disbursed to the Okyehene over a three-year period.

“The tree planting for Okyehene is a project to plant 25 million trees in three years. This request was received over four months ago and it has gone through a lot of discussions to determine the viability of such a project.

“GNPC believes in environmental sustainability…and we thought that this is a very important project that we support. And the Board in its wisdom felt that if the country, through the Okyehene, can plant 25 million trees in three years then it is a step in the right direction,” he explained on Joy FM’s Top Story.

He said contrary to reports that all the GH¢1.5 million will be given to Okyehene at a go, GH¢500,000 will be disbursed every year for three years.

He explained that GNPC’s actual contribution to the 20th-anniversary celebrations of the Okyehene’s reign – which will round up to a mammoth durbar on December 14 – is GH¢300,000.

“Celebrating our cultural diversity finds meaning in GNPC’s vision of making sure that our activities have a beneficial impact on the country as a whole,” he justified.

GNPC has also donated GH¢400, 000 to the 2019 Damba festival while GH¢50,000 has also been donated to the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA).

GNPC, under its CSR drive, has donated $30,000 to the Ghana Boxing Association. The Rebecca Foundation has also received an amount of GH¢120, 000 from the GNPC. The Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) also got a donation of GH¢550, 000.

Dr Kwame Baah-Nuakoh said every request for donation was scrutinised before being approved.