The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PRMA) has asked the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to, as a matter of urgency, initiate action to recover Surface Rental Arrears with the appropriate interest, as provided for in the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA).
PIAC made the recommendation in its annual report for last year.
The committee observed that for the period under review, the Petroleum Commission, as per its localisation plans, forecasted about 40 roles to be localised in 2020.
“Out of this, 37 roles previously occupied by expatriates in Yinson (11) and MODEC (26) were assumed by Ghanaians, representing a 92.5 per cent success rate.
“Based on the committee’s findings, below are its recommendations: The Ghana Revenue Authority should, as a matter of urgency, initiate action to recover Surface Rental Arrears with the appropriate interest, as provided for in the PRMA.
“The Ministry of Finance should ensure that Priority Areas selected are approved by Parliament before implementation, as required by Section 21 (5) of the PRMA.”
It added “The Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) should not be used to serve the purpose of filling expenditure gaps in times of revenue shortfall in the Budget, as this is the purpose of the GSF under Section 9(2) of the PRMA.
“As detailed in the Committee’s 2019 Annual Report, the Committee reiterates that the ABFA should not be spread thinly, in accordance with Section 21 (1-3) of the PRMA
“PIAC reiterates the need for a Long-Term National Development Plan, as stipulated in Section 21(2)(d) of the PRMA to guide the spending of petroleum revenues, as the current practice allows for the Ministerial discretion in the selection of the Priority Areas.
“The necessary gas infrastructure needs to be put in place by Government to ensure that the make-up gas from SGN is taken and utilised.”
Regarding Utilisation of ABFA to fill gap in budge, PIAC noted in its report that the Ministry of Finance reported that it utilised an amount of GHC827.60 million of the unspent ABFA to partially meet the shortfall in ABFA receipts caused by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated effects on crude oil prices globally.
This is at variance with the provisions of the Act which established the Ghana Stabilisation Fund to cushion the impact on or sustain public expenditure capacity during periods of unanticipated petroleum revenue shortfalls.
The Government may have been forced to take this action because the Stabilisation Fund did not have the needed balance to perform its statutory mandate as a result as a result of capping.
“An amount of GHC1, 291,227,014.86 was allocated to the ABFA from the Petroleum Holding Fund (PHF), representing an increase of 1.60 per cent over the allocation to the ABFA from the PHF in 2019.
“The 2020 – 2022 new priority areas selected for ABFA disbursement were not presented to parliament for approval in the 2020 Budget Statement and Economic Policy, as required by the PRMA.
“Contrary to the PRMA, an unutilised amount of GHC827.60 million form 2017 – 2019 was spent to partially meet the shortfall in ABFA receipts caused by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated effects on crude oil prices globally.”
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana