Government is under pressure to fully disclose the exact amount spent in building the Atuabo Gas Processing Plant, following revelations in parliament that the petroleum ministry may have understated the total cost.
The sector minister, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, answering a question in parliament announced that the project cost Ghana US$1billion.
But that figure is being challenged by the Member of Parliament for Yagaba / Kubori, Mustapha Ussif, who also provided documentary evidence that government spent more than 1.5 billion dollars to complete the gas infrastructure project.
He is now asking government to account for the US$500million difference. The MP referred to a document presented by Ghana Gas to the Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC) showing the cost of the project was US$1.5billion.
The Minority believes the cost of the project is bloated. The inconsistencies in the figures have left the minister requesting for more time to reconcile the differences.
A US$1billion facility (part of US$3billion) was secured from the Chinese Development Bank (CDB) through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP) for implementating the Atuabo Gas Processing project.
The government of Ghana was required to raise 15% as counterpart funding while the CDB funded the remaining 85%. The importance of knowing the exact cost of the Atuabo Gas processing plant is found in the fact that the cost of construction determines the cost at which gas is sold to the Volta River Authority (VRA) to generate power.
In all this, the PURC engages Ghana Gas to determine the tariffs for gas. If the cost is inflated, it will mean VRA will charge higher tariffs on power for consumers.
“Either Ghana Gas or the minister is hiding something from Ghanaians,” the Yagaba/Kubori MP maintained. The Atuabo Gas Processing Plant is Ghana’s promise of cheaper fuel for power generation.
It is expected to save the nation over US$500million a year from importing light crude to power the thermal plants, as gas costs barely half the price of light crude oil. The Atuabo Gas Processing plant can generate about 140 million standard cubic feet of natural gas a day