23rd September, 2017 will forever be one of the memorable days in the history of Ghana.
The flag of the Nation soared high. Ghana was victorious in the landmark Maritime Boundary dispute case involving its Western neighbor La Cote d’Ivoire at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, ITLOS in Germany. It was a “sweet victory” for Ghana.
The triumph came at a price. The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, GNPC financed Ghana’s defense team and other activities relating to the case from 2014 to this year when the ruling was delivered.
In 2014 the GNPC expended US$782,406.83 even though US$1,630,000.00 million was budgeted for as contained in the Public Interest and Accountability Committee’s 2014 annual report. It was indicated that the reason for non-utilization of the entire allocated amount was that momentum was shifted to 2015.
The Corporation in 2015 reported in the Annual Petroleum Funds Report submitted to Parliament by Seth Terkper, the then Finance Minister that US$2,121,221.65 million from the total Annual Budget Funding Amount, ABFA from the Petroleum revenue allocation to the GNPC was spent on the maritime boundary dispute as against US$782,406.83 spent in 2014.
Significantly, the US$2,121,221.65 million expended on the case that year was almost equal to the amount the GNPC spent on North & South Tano Petroleum and the Hess projects.
The exploration and development projects at the North and South Tano for the year cost US$1.8 million whereas the same activity at the Hess project was a US$1.9 million. The petroleum industry in the country had a setback during the period because of an interim ruling of the ITLOS which placed a moratorium on exploration and drilling of new wells in the disputed area. The pronouncement affected the drilling of fresh wells in the TEN Project and other blocks that fall within the disputed zone but it did not disturbed work required to complete on-going wells.
There was an increase in the money spent contesting the Maritime Boundary dispute with expenditure rising from US$2,12 million in 2015 to US$2,818,913.14 million in 2016. This was contained in the 2016 Annual report on Petroleum Funds submitted to the Lawmakers by the current Minister of Finance Ken Ofori Atta.
In the 2017 Work Programme of the GNPC approved by Parliament, US$4.00 Million was earmarked to support the Maritime Boundary Secretariat under the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
“The GNPC considers successful determination of the Maritime Boundary Dispute between Ghana and Cote d’Ivore as critical to increasing average oil production in the TEN Field. As a result, the Corporation plans to provide adequate support to the Attorney General’s Department’s preparations towards the final determination of the case. An amount of US$4.00 million has therefore been earmarked to support AG in this regard.” the report represented by the Chairman of the Mines and Energy Committee, Emmanuel Kwasi Gyamfi, stated. (page 11 0f 20 of the report) August 2017. The actual budget was US$3.00 million with additional US$1.00 million for Contingency.
With the above, my digging reveals that GNPC has from 2014 to this year spent in excess of US$9,722,541.62 Million on the Maritime Boundary Dispute case. This is far in excess of what was reported a few days after the ruling by a local TV station.
It must however be pointed out that the GNPC’s expenditure does not include other expenses incurred by some other state agencies.
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