The African Centre for Energy Policy, ACEP, says it disagrees with calls for the Public Interest and Accountability Committee, PIAC, to be given prosecution powers despite continuous instances of financial misappropriation of the country’s oil revenue.
ACEP believes extending the mandate of PIAC to prosecute defaulters will rather overburden the committee in exposing instances of misallocation of revenue.
“I do not think that PIAC needs powers what they need is continue to do what they are doing and probably strengthen them to do it better. The law that set them up recognizes PIAC as an advisory committee to Parliament so whatever report they issue they have to hand over to Parliament for action to be taken,” Deputy Director of ACEP, Benjamin Boakye remarked.
The call for more powers to the PIAC was brought to the fore during the launch of the 2015 Annual report of the Committee.
It also follows the apparent recurrence of some irregularities due to the delays in the implementation of recommendations.
But Mr. Boakye explains to Citi Business News granting such powers will interfere in Parliament’s role of ensuring that it protects the public coffers.
“Parliament has the PAC that can look at the report and call people to question them so the modalities are clear I do not think we should add unto the work of PIAC beyond engaging the public and picking feedback and alerting government on what the wrongs are in relative to the management of our resources,” he further noted.
Key findings on activities of GNPC
Notable among the findings of the 2015 annual report by PIAC included inconsistencies with the financial activities in the management of budgetary allocation and the Annual Budget Funding Amount by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and the Ministry of Finance respectively.
According to the report, GNPC overspent its allocation by 49%.
PIAC maintained the oil company overspent 63.16 million dollars more than the 126.86 million dollars allocated to it.
It was further revealed that the corporation’s 2015 allocation was however lower than that of 2014 which was 180.71 million dollars.
PIAC explains that the company spent 190.02 million dollars during 2015.
Finance Ministry overspends ABFA
Meanwhile the Ministry of Finance overspent its Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) allocated to it in 2015 by 34%.
The ministry spent GH¢ 1,124.2 million compared to the GH¢ 1,086.28 million allocated to it.
Oil revenue declines
Oil revenue for the period under review declined by about 100 million dollars.
Figures quoted in the PIAC report indicated that total petroleum receipts in 2015 amounted to 396.17 million dollars below the revised 496.31 million dollars.
The 2015 oil receipts were also more than fifty percent less than the figure recorded in 2015.
The 2014 receipts of 978.02 million dollars were 581.85 million dollars more than the 396.17 million dollars million dollars recorded in 2015.
The development, the Committee contends was significantly due to the huge decline to the lower than expected crude oil price for a greater part of the year.