A member of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) has stressed the need for the country to insulate the Ghana National Petroleum Company from partisan politics to enable the company function more effectively and efficiently.
Dr. Steve Manteaw noted that recent happenings at the GNPC where seasoned brains such as Messers Thomas Manu and Kwame Ntow Amoah have been “pushed” off their post and their offices abolished at the GNPC remain the greatest tragedy in the annals of the extractive sector.
Dr. Manteaw said, “How can we lose our brightest and best brains when it comes to price transfer, negotiation and overall institutional memory all in the name of Ghanaian politics?”
The member of PIAC said this at a workshop organized by the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists under the auspices of the GIZ on the ‘Management of Petroleum Revenues for the year 2016’.
Dr. Manteaw added that the two men are intellectuals in the industry and are “Men any serious oil company or country would want to have and work with, let us not frustrate our best brains”.
The PAIC member said trading the country’s fortunes and its future on party loyalists had been the bane to our underdevelopment adding, “We need to be conscious and have the national interest as against personal or parochial interests”.
The 2016 report on Petroleum Revenues showed a steady decline in figures due to the repair works on the turrets of the Floating Production and Storage Vessel.
According to the report, actual petroleum receipts in 2016 of US$247.18 million was 29 per cent lower than the budgeted amount of US$348.42, which translated to 38 per cent year-on-year decline when compared to 2015.
Again only five out of the 18 license holders paid surface rental during the period under review.
Under the allocation and utilization of petroleum receipts, a total of US$229.03 million was budgeted out of which a net amount of US$140.54 million was transferred to the Government of Ghana for onwards distribution.
The GNPC received US$ 88.50 million in 2016 which is the lowest since the distribution of petroleum revenues begun in 2011.
The reports said the disbursement was insufficient to cover the National Oil Company’s equity requirement and expenditure on other exploration and developments projects embarked upon in the course of the year.
There was also 13.7 per cent year-on-year decline in crude oil production due to the 34-day shutdown of the Jubilee Field for maintenance.
The PIAC reports indicated that the Ghana Petroleum Fund also made a net investment income of US$ 5.77 during the period under review compared to US$ 4.5 million in 2015.
The balance of the Ghana Heritage Fund at the end of 2016 stood at US$ 276.96 million compared to US$259.38 million in 2015, while that of the Ghana Stabilization Fund stood at US$207.75 million as against US$177.40 million in 2015, bringing the total combined balance in the Ghana Petroleum Fund to US$484.71 million during the year under review.
The report recommended that Ghana Revenue Authority ensure that outstanding annual surface rental was paid with interest and expedite auditing on tax returns filed by the partners.
The Report noted the need for the GNPC to procure a Loss of Production Insurance (LOPI) to cater for eventualities.
The GNPC according to the report, must also come out clear on plans to retrieve the US$ 50 million loan advanced to the Ministry of Finance in respect of the Western Corridor Roads.