THE Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) has called on Parliament to compel the Ministry of Finance to account for unutilised funds in the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA).
The ABFA is the portion of petroleum revenues earmarked for government spending in a particular year.
The committee, which has oversight responsibility in the management and use of the country’s petroleum revenues, said the Ministry of Finance had, for the past three years, not fully utilised and accounted for the ABFA.
It, therefore, wants Parliament to exercise its oversight responsibility and ensure that the Ministry of Finance fully account for the funds.
Speaking at the launch of the 2019 PIAC Annual Report in Accra yesterday, the Chairman of PIAC, Mr Noble Wadzah, said it was gradually becoming a pattern for the Ministry of Finance not to utilise and account for some part of the ABFA.
“For the third consecutive year, the actual ABFA was not fully utilised and accounted for. It brings the total unutilised and unaccounted ABFA to GH¢1.5 billion at the end of 2019.
“PIAC urges Parliament to bring its oversight mandate to bear on the Ministry of Finance’s impunity and failure for not accounting for unutilised ABFA,” he said.
Relevance of PIAC
The PIAC is a statutory body, established under Section 51 of the Petroleum Revenue Management Authority (PRMA), 2011 (Act 815) to monitor and evaluate compliance with the Act by government and relevant institutions in the management and use of petroleum revenues and investments.
The President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Mr Roland Affail Monney, who chaired the function, noted that PIAC had been an answer to citizens’ demands for better management of petroleum revenues after almost a century of the production of gold, bauxite and other minerals with no corresponding economic development.
Mr Monney noted that the accountability committee had through its semi-annual and annual reports stimulated healthy national discourse on policies on the sector and collaborated with other state institutions.
He said the PIAC reports had become an authoritative source of information for all, especially politicians and academics.
According to the report, gas production witnessed its greatest boost, since commercialisation of natural gas in Ghana started last year.
A total of 169,508.61 Million Metric 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.
It said while the Jubilee Field had always produced the highest volumes, the trend was reversed for the first time in 2019, with the Sankofa Gye Nyame (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.
Revenue and distribution
Total petroleum receipts accrued to the Petroleum Holding Fund (PHF) in 2019 was $925 million. The total receipts were distributed to the GNPC, the ABFA, the Ghana Stabilisation Fund (GSF) and the Ghana Heritage Fund (GHF).
The ABFA was further distributed among the four priority areas as well as some disbursement to the PIAC.
The priority areas are agriculture, which received GH¢71.6 million, with the roads, rail and other critical infrastructure development priority, receiving GH¢579.2 million.
The other priority areas, education and health, received GH¢570.8 million and GH¢46.3 million, respectively.
From inception in 2011 to date, petroleum revenues have yielded $5.91 billion.