MPs Ask Gov’t To Spend GH¢440m Idle Oil Cash

Members of Parliament (MPs) from both sides yesterday debated the 2018 semi-annual report of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) on the management of petroleum revenues from January to June, 2018, with much focus on an amount of GH¢440 million from oil revenues sitting idle in an account for a year without being utilised.

The MPs, particularly the Minority members, were also concerned about expenses of oil revenues allocated to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) by the corporation and indebtedness of state-owned enterprises and government to the corporation totalling GH¢1.3 billion.

The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, who seconded the motion on the report for it to be adopted by the House, expressed worry about the unused GH¢440 million oil revenue sitting idle in an account for a year while the government was struggling to pay for national health insurance, common fund and pensions.

He said Minister of Finance must, as a matter of urgency, seek the authorization of Parliament to spend the money for the benefit of Ghanaians.

The ranking member on Finance Committee, Ato Forson, who is also the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Ajumako/Enyan/Essiam, questioned why so much money has been allocated to the GNPC for staff cost expenses and administrative capital expenditure which he said is costing the nation $16.7 million.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Effutu, Alex Afenyo-Markin, who is also a member of the Finance Committee, said the time had come for both sides of the House to come to a consensus on government using resources of GNPC to serve as guarantee or collateral to fund capital investments.

He stressed that the NDC government was guilty in using the GNPC to guarantee for the investment in the Karpower.

The NPP MP for Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa, Anthony Effah, a member of the Finance Committee, who presented the report in Parliament said that at the end of June 2018, net profit on investment of the Ghana Petroleum Funds since inception was $34.7 million compared to $28.2 million realized at the end of December, 2017.