GNPC did no wrong in Karpower deal­ —Minister

Emmanuel Kofi Armah Buah,Energy Minister

Emmanuel Kofi Armah Buah,Energy Minister

The Minister of Petroleum, Emmanuel Kofi Armah Buah, says the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) did nothing wrong by providing a US$100 million guarantee for the Karpower Ship which has been contracted by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to help deal with the power crises.

According to him, it is within the mandate of the GNPC, under the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) law 64, to provide guarantee for such contracts and explained that the role of the GNPC in the Karpower deal was to help provide funding to supply gas to power the thermal plant.

Mr. Buah was responding to claims by some law makers on the minority side in Parliament yesterday that the GNPC veered off its mandate when it provided a US$100 million guarantee for the ECG in the Karpower Ship deal.

The House is continuing its debate on a motion for the approval of the programme of activities of the GNPC for the year 2016, which began last Thursday.

Mr. Buah said “the core functions of the GNPC, under PNDC law 64, are to undertake exploration, development, production and disposal of petroleum products including gas. As we speak today, the jubilee gas is powering the thermal plants. GNPC’s role (under the Karpower deal) in making sure they provide funds to support the supply of gas is within its mandate.”

As the aggregator of gas in the country, he said the GNPC was within its right to guarantee for a contract which sought to provide gas to solve a national problem and added that the argument by some members on the minority that the GNPC had no mandate to provide guarantee for the ECG was completely wrong.

The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Haruna Iddrisu, supported the petroleum minister’s argument and said that the GNPC should rather be commended for providing support to help solve a national power crises which crippled many businesses and affected almost every household.

According to him, the GNPC had the right to engage in corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities and added that the decision by the corporation to provide guarantee and support other social programmes could be classified as part of its CSR programme.

While supporting the motion, which was moved last week, Mr. Iddrisu urged his colleagues to approve the programme of activities for the GNPC to enable it undertake its work programme for the year.

However, members on the minority side of the House continued to protest against the programme of activities of the corporation and urged the House to kick against it.

Aside the argument that the GNPC had veered from its core mandate, they said that the corporation was not thorough with the document it presented to the House for approval in respect to the construction of its office complex.

They demanded that the petroleum minister should present to the House, the total amount the corporation wanted to commit to the construction of the building and asked the minister to give further details on some of the projects it had earmarked this year.

After the back and forth argument, the First Deputy Speaker, Ebo Barton-Oduro, who was in the Chair, deferred the approval of the motion to today.

This is the second time the House has deferred the approval of the motion.

By Yaw Kyei

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