The Government of Ghana is working with the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) over reported cases of unaccounted for oil revenue as captured in PIAC’s reports, Finance Minister-designate, Ken Ofori-Atta has said.
He said this during his vetting by the Appointments Committee of Parliament on Thursday March 25.
Last year, PIAC disclosed that an amount of GHC1.5 billion petroleum revenue could not be accounted for by the Finance Ministry for the period between 2017 and 2019.
According to PIAC, the total amount of petroleum revenue meant to be spent as part of the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) for the 2019 fiscal year was GHC 2.7 billion. However, only GHC1.2 billion of this amount has been utilized and accounted for.
With that portion of the Petroleum revenue accounted for however, PIAC says there’s still an amount of GHC 1.5 billion which has not been utilised but is still unaccounted for by the Finance Ministry.
“The total Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) available for spending in 2019 was in the region of GHC2.7 billion, out of which GHC1.2 billion was utilized, leaving a balance of (GHC1.5 billion) unutilized. For the third consecutive year, not only has a sizable proportion of the ABFA not being fully utilized,but it has also not been accounted for, impeding PIAC’s appreciation of the full scope of the accounting to the public on the utilization of our petroleum revenues,” portions of the report read.
PIAC asked Parliament to interrogate the issue and ensure that the Ministry of Finance account for the said funds.
“PIAC urges Parliament to bring its oversight mandate to bear on the Ministry of Finance’s impunity and failure in not accounting for unutilized ABFA. For the third consecutive year, the actual ABFA has not been fully utilized and accounted for, bringing the total unutilized and unaccounted ABFA to GHC1.5 billion at the end of 2019,” PIAC stated as part of its recommendations.
Asked what could have accounted for this development, Mr Ofori Atta told the Appointments Committee that “We have had series of meetings with PIAC to try and reconcile these numbers. I can assure the house that this is not tantamount to any type of corruption from the ministry of the government in any way. So we should be clear on that. With regards to their number of 2.4billion which they insist on.
“You can see that the president was at the event yesterday and that is an indication of our commitment to work with them and to clear that. Mr Chairman, let me assure you that all of these will be resolved and we have PIAC going forward.”
He added “There may be honest mistakes made but there is no profligacy on our part or a sense of arrogance as to the use of public money. My training as an investor was to invest people’s moneys and that has to be protected and so when you look at Databank, it is an investment of five hundred thousand people’s money and those are sacrosanct .
“Mr Chairman let me assure you that all of these things will be resolved.”
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana