THE Public Interest Accountability Committee (PIAC), has called on government to, as a matter of urgency, address the unsustainable debt of the Ghana National Gas (GNGC).
At the launch of PIAC’s annual report, 2019 in Accra, the Chairman of the Committee, Mr Noble Wadzah, said in 2019, the Ghana National Petroluem Company (GNPC) supplied US$334.6 million worth of raw gas to the GNGC but no payment was received in respect of the supplies.
“This is largely on account of Volta River Authority’s (VRA) inability to pay GNGC for the lean gas supplied. Added to the outstanding balance of US$333.5 million, this brings the total indebtedness in respect of lean gas supplies to US$668.1 million,” he disclosed.
The committee reiterated its call to parliament to consider placing some restrictions on the portion of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC’s) budget on corporate social investment (CSI) and guarantees to state-owned enterprises (SOEs), especially when the corporation is unable to respond to some of its cash calls.
The committee noted that the GNPC continued to provide guarantees for a range of SOEs which in 2019 amounted to US$645.5 million.
The amount is about double compared to previous year’s, 2018, and outweighs the corporation’s total equity financing expenditure requirement of US$164.79 million.
Violations and sanctions
Apart from the GNPC, there is on record a violation by the Ministry of Finance to account for unutilised Annual Budget Fund Amount (ABFA), for the third consecutive year, bringing to total, unutilised and unaccounted for ABFA to GHC1.5 billion at the end of 2019.
Mr Wadzah explained that PIAC did not have the legal wherewithal to prosecute people who misappropriated Ghana’s oil revenue allocations.
“That does not fall within the mandate of the committee. There are institutions such as parliament that is required to take action when the reports are released. Our work basically engages the public and other relevant organisations to pick feedback and alert government on what the wrongs are, relative to the management of our resources,” he said.
He added that petroleum revenue issues are citizens’ issues, and so, “we also believe that other professional bodies such as the Ghana Bar Association, civil society organisations, the Ghana Journalists Association should take the committee’s reports seriously and interrogate the issues.”
Section 58 of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act 815, on ‘Penalties states that (l) A person who (a)misappropriates the Petroleum Funds; (b)defrauds, attempts to defraud or conspires with another person to defraud the Republic in relation to the Petroleum Funds; (c)uses, attempts to use or conspires with another person to use information on the Petroleum Funds or documents relating to the Petroleum Funds for personal benefit or advantage or for the personal advantage or benefit of another person; commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than five hundred thousand penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not less than fifteen years or to both.
(2) A person who abets in the commission of an offence is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than two hundred and fifty thousand penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not less than seven years or to both.
A total of 71.4 million (71,439,585) barrels of oil was obtained from the three producing fields – Jubilee, Sankofa Gye Nyame (SGN) and Tweneboa, Enyera, Ntomme (TEN).
Total oil production in 2019 exceeded that of 2018 by 15 per cent. Production in 2018 was 62.1 million (62,135,435.07) barrels. The high recorded volume is on account of increased production on Jubilee and SGN Fields.
The Jubilee Field produced 31.9 million (31,915,377) barrels; TEN field produced 22.3 million (22,319,137) barrels and the SGN Field produced 17.2 million (17,205,070.85) barrels.
Gas production witnessed its greatest boost since commercialisation of natural gas in Ghana in 2019.
A total of 169,508.61 Million Standard Cubic Feet (MMSCF) of Associated Gas (AG) and Non-Associated Gas (NAG) was produced in 2019; an 85 per cent increase over the 2018 volume of 91,459.30 MMSCF.
While the Jubilee Field has always produced the highest volumes, this trend was reversed for the first time in 2019, with the SGN Field’s combined AG and NAG contributing the highest volume of 69,941.60 MMSCF. The Jubilee and TEN Fields produced 51,179.67 MMSCF and 48,387.34 MMSCF respectively.
The PIAC is a statutory body, established under Section 51 of the Petroleum Revenue Management Authority (PRMA), 2011 (Act 815). Its objectives include:
- To monitor and evaluate compliance with the Act by government and relevant institutions in the management and use of petroleum revenues and investments;
- To provide space and platform for the public to debate on whether spending prospects and management and use of revenues conform to development priorities as provided under section 21(3); and
- To provide independent assessment on the management and use of petroleum revenues to assist Parliament and the executive in the oversight and performance of related functions.
The PIAC launched the annual report on the management and use of petroleum revenues for 2019, three months later than its statutory reporting date of March 15, due to the delay in the release of data by some of the reporting state agencies, and the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) which disrupted the timely completion of the report.
The committee’s reports aim at keeping Ghanaians and other interested stakeholders constantly informed about how the country’s petroleum revenues are being managed.
It also serves as a tool for citizens’ feedback to be collated and shared with duty bearers, including policy makers.
So far, a total of 17 reports, nine annual and eight semi-annual, covering the period 2011 to 2019, have been published.