Ghana’s petroleum revenue watchdog, the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) has expressed concern over the persistent non-utilisation and unaccounting of the full Annual Budget Funding Amount. (ABFA)
According to the latest issue paper for August 2020, PIAC noted that the trend has occurred since 2013 though the entire budgetary amount is often disbursed to the ABFA account.
ABFA is the portion of petroleum revenues earmarked for government spending in a particular year, therefore, PIAC wants Parliament to exercise its oversight responsibility and ensure that the Ministry of Finance fully accounts for the funds. Citing an example, PIAC pointed that in 2016, a cumulative amount of GH¢1.48 million remained unutilised and unaccounted for.
“Another worrying trend is the non-utilisation of and accounting for the full ABFA allocation even though the entire budgetary amount is disbursed to the ABFA account.
“This first occurred in 2013, and has been repeated yearly since 2016, with exponential growth in the amount over time. Since 2016 therefore, a cumulative amount of GH¢1.48 million has been unutilised and unaccounted for,” the paper read.
Though PIAC admits the Finance Ministry has explained the unutilised amounts are either swept or rolled over into the ensuing year, it described the move as rather untenable and raises issues of poor budgeting and planning.
PIAC held that for government to make such a decision particularly when ongoing ABFA-funded projects are not fully resourced year-on-year, only hinders proper tracking of petroleum revenue utilisation.