Account for over 600 million unspent oil money – PIAC to Government

PIAC ON GOVERNMENT

Chairman of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee, Dr Steve Manteaw, has demanded that government must explain to Ghanaians why it didn’t spend over Gh¢600 million oil money allocated to the Annual Budget Funding Amount in 2017 and 2018.

The ABFA is the account set up by government that receives allocations from oil and gas revenue in support of government budgets.

“The citizen demands to know why the monies that were allocated were not utilised because these were revenues that were realized and allocated. The public needs to know why the ministry in spite of the availability of the funds, did not use the money,” said Dr Manteaw.

He added that when the public is told why the money was not spent it will improve transparency and ensure accountability.

PIAC, is mandated by law to track the use of all revenues gained from the petroleum sector.

Ghana’s Petroleum Revenue Management Act (815) demands that when money allocated to the ABFA is not spent, it should be returned to the Petroleum Holding Fund for accountability purposes.

The PHF is the account for all the revenues gained in the petroleum sector.

However, in 2017, PIAC’s report revealed GH¢403 million unspent money was unaccounted for.

In 2018, the government reserved GH¢1.55 billion as ABFA expenditure. It indicated that it included the GH¢403 million, which has appreciated to GH¢440 million as a result of exchange rate gains.

PIAC’s analysis discloses that the GH¢1.55 billion was exactly 70 percent of the net petroleum revenues, in line with the provisions of Act 815. Therefore, the GH¢440 million is not inclusive of the GH¢1.55 billion.

PIAC’s 2018 report discovered another unspent GH¢252 million which when added to the unspent balance of 2017, brings the total unspent ABFA to GH¢652,292,311.00

The Ministry of Finance, in April 2019, explained that because the 2018 budget was presented in September 2017, and the GH¢440 million had been approved by Parliament for spending in that year (2017), it couldn’t have been included in the 2018 budget for Parliamentary approval.

By: Kofi Boateng

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Joe Bright Nyarko Journalist/Communication Researcher. Environment & Sustainability Advocate. Managing Editor of aptnewsghana.com, a non-profit news portal with bias towards environment and sustainability issues, rural development policies and gender & inequality.