The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Obuasi West, Kwaku Kwarteng, yesterday revealed on the floor of Parliament that the government could not account for a whopping GH˘245million that accrued from the petroleum debt recovery levy in 2012 in this year’s budget.
On the petroleum debt recovery levy, the MP said the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government’s budget for 2013 indicated that there was no amount captured under it.
He made the revelation when he was contributing to the debate on the 2013 budget statement of the NDC government in parliament yesterday.
“Mr Speaker, I have taken the pains to go through the whole budget statement and found out some gross irregularities in the budget statement,” he said.
He explained to the house that page 276 of the budget statement captured GH˘0.00 as the amount realised from the petroleum debt recovery levy but his calculations from the levies given by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) showed that an amount of GH˘244, 970,214 was to be realised from the petrol, diesel, liquified petroleum gas (LPG), marine gas oil and residual fluid oil levies charged on petroleum prices.
The Obuasi West MP said per the levies of 8Ghp per litre on petrol and diesel, 5 Ghp per litre on LPG, 4 Ghp per litre on residual fluid oil and 3 Ghp per litre on marine gas oil, the petroleum debt recovery levy would fetch the nation a whopping GH˘245 million.
He again argued that it was very misleading for the government to describe Ghana’s hedging in the budget statement as very successful and post a profit of zero cedis.
“The government projected GH˘55.3 million to be realised from the hedge but at the end of the day, no amount was realised from the hedging,” he said, adding that it was inconsistent on the part of the government to say that the hedging was successful in 2012 and that the programme would be continued in 2013 and yet got no profit from it.
“Hedging programme is an insurance policy. We pay premium so that when the price of oil exceed an agreed threshold, we receive hedging into the hedge fund. So where is the money?” he queried.
Hon Kwarteng’s contribution elicited quick response from the chairman of the finance committee of parliament, James Klutse Avedzi and the Minister of Finance, Seth Terpker.
Mr Avedzi said the levy had been repealed but the Speaker of Parliament, Hon Edward Doe-Adjaho, in a quick intervention, said if the levies had been repealed, it did not come to the notice of parliament.
“If the levy had been repealed it should have been repealed by law so you should tell us the law which has repealed the levies,” the Speaker told chairman of the finance committee, who said he would be furnishing the house with such information later.
The Speaker also asked the Minister of Finance to do some correction on page 276, if there was any typographical mistake which indicated that zero cedis was realised from the petroleum debt recovery levy in order to reflect the reality on the ground.
The NPP MP for Adansi Asokwa, K.T. Hammond, who is a ranking member on the energy committee, was not happy about the refusal of the Minister of Finance to furnish the house with an audited account of the petroleum fund.
He, therefore, asked the Minister of Finance to fulfill that constitutional obligation.
The NPP MP for Dormaa Central, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, in his contribution said there had been so many leakages in the system, coupled with corruption, that had led to the huge deficit in the 2012 budget.
He described the budget as a budget of “journey to nowhere”.
The usual debate continued yesterday with most of the majority NDC members of parliament, who made contributions, still affirming their strong belief in the budget while the minority said the budget did not offer any hope for the country.
Debate on the budget continues.
Source: Thomas Fosu Jnr/D-Gide
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