Parliament has adopted the reports of the Finance Committee on the Petroleum Funds for the 2017 fiscal year, with the Minority complaining bitterly about the misapplication of the oil funds by the current administration.
The ranking member of the Finance Committee, Cassiel Ato Forson, before the adoption of the reports, said the government, in flagrant violation of the Public Financial Management Act and the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, had diverted oil funds into its free Senior High School policy.
Former President John Mahama has always criticised the free SHS policy of the current administration, dropping hints of scrapping it if elected in future election.
According to the ranking member, the Public Financial Management Act states that 70 percent of the oil money should be channeled into the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) while 70% of the ABFA must be used for improvement in physical infrastructure.
He said instead of the amount of the ABFA being used to improve physical infrastructure, it’s being used to finance the government’s free Senior High School (SHS).
He said out of the GH¢202 million meant for development of physical infrastructure, GH¢196 million has been used to finance the government’s free SHS policy.
The ranking member said all the oil money would be diverted into funding of the free SHS to the neglect of the other sectors of the economy, especially physical infrastructure.
He said that the minority will seek a court action to compel the Finance Minister to do the right thing in applying the oil resources of country.
Presenting the Finance Committee’s report, the Vice Chairman of the committee, Kwabena Amankwah-Asiamah, said from January, 2017 to September, 2017 the total petroleum receipts was $362.58 million, equivalent to GH¢1.55 billion.
He said out of the amount realized, $126.67 million was allocated to the Ghana National Petroleum Fund while $217 million went to the Annual Budget Funding Amount
He said the total net profit on the Ghana Petroleum Funds (GPFs) for the period January to September, 2017 amounted to $7.03 million while GH¢29.2 million was transferred to the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund (GIIF).
He said exploratory works undertaken by the GNPC in the Volta Basin for more oil was on course and that 2D seismic acquisitions and geo-chemical explorations have already begun.