The Energy Sector Recovery Programme (ESRP) has held a two-day Gas Accountants’ Business Summit to discuss the natural gas business in Ghana and its related issues to achieve a financially sustainable energy sector.
The summit, which was on the theme “The Role of Natural Gas on Ghana’s Sustainable Future,” brought together accountants, lawyers, commercial experts, and other professionals within the energy sector.
The ESRP was developed by the Government of Ghana to address recurrent and projected financial shortfalls for both the power and gas sectors through a five-year implementation period commencing from 2019.
Mr Leonard Akuffo-Kwapong, Lead Accountant of the Natural Gas Clearinghouse, giving a brief of the summit, said its focus was on reducing the legacy debt and ensuring financial viability in the energy sector.
Mr Akuffo-Kwapong added that it was strategically designed to focus revenue collection, emerging African markets, Natural Gas sustainability and the energy sector legacy debt, noting that it also highlighted the importance of Ghanaian participation in the oil and gas sector.
He said oil and gas was a vital source of Ghana’s revenue, indicating that they have identified the importance of Ghanaian participation and local investment in the sector as well as the importance of the country owning its economic legacy.
Touching on the gains of the ESRP, he disclosed that the combined role of the Natural Gas Clearinghouse and the Cash Waterfall Mechanism had ensured that State Owned Organizations (SOE) with the value chain received full payments for the gas commodity, associated fees, and charges were made whole between October 2020 to January 2022.
He added that they have also been able to reduce the legacy debt significantly without any extra payments by government of Ghana, explaining that they tracked payments made by the government over the period and effected accounting entries through the gas to power value chain which eventually gave the government of Ghana its credit.
“In 2021 alone, we reconciled over USD $300 million, which will go back to Government of Ghana as a credit,” he said.
Mr Akuffo-Kwapong said the ESRP has come to tackle the lack of transparency in the sector, which he stated was one of the issues that added to the long held legacy debt.
Professor Kwaku Appiah-Adu, ESRP Coordinator, and a Senior Advisor to Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, chairing the summit reiterated the importance of getting together stakeholders in the energy sector to discuss pertinent issues.
Prof Appiah-Adu said it was also to strengthen the relations between stakeholders in the sector to support in reducing the energy sector debt while looking at the prospects of the natural gas sector.
He said the ESRP had natural gas clearing house concept through which it brings together all the revenue that comes through the gas value chain and based on that, they have a formular and a proportion that is used to distribute money to the various players in the sector, adding that with that they were able to make sure that there was equitable distribution of the monies.