Minority accuses govt of breaching Petroleum Revenue Management Act

Mr Casiel Ato ForsonThe Minority spokesperson on Finance, Casiel Ato Baah Forson is accusing government of breaching the Petroleum Revenue Management Act.

 

Mr Forson, a former Deputy Finance Minister said instead of channelling monies realised from the petroleum sector into infrastructural development, government was rather diverting most of the money into consumption.

 

Speaking with journalists after Tuesday’s proceedings, the Ajumako/Enyan/Assiam lawmaker said the annual report of the petroleum fund signed by the Finance Minister indicated that GH¢196 million of GH¢202 million realised from the petroleum sector was spent on service delivery in education.

 

That he said was in variance with the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund Act which stipulates that 70 per cent of total oil revenue allocated to the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) be used to support infrastructure development.

 

His concerns followed the approval of the Finance Committee’s Report on petroleum funds for the 2017 fiscal year.

 

The report in conclusion said requirements of the Petroleum Revenue Act were complied with.

 

But Ato Forson said a huge chunk of the money, instead of going into infrastructure in line with the law was being channelled into the implementation of the free Senior High School (SHS) policy.

 

Giving a breakdown of the expenditure, Ato Forson added that GH¢6million was also used to defray scholarship claims.

 

“Somebody is tactically breaching the Petroleum Revenue Management Act against the principle with which it was established,” he said.

 

According to Ato Forson, government projected to spend GH¢796 million from the ABFA but made GH¢868 million and should have done more on the infrastructure front.

 

He said he was not against investing in the free SHS policy but wants government to come with an amendment of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act so as to have the free hands to pump the money into the policy if it so wanted.

 

A Deputy Finance Minister, Kwaku Kwarteng said the claims by his opposite colleague were factually inaccurate.

 

The Obuasi West representative said government was minded of the importance of capital investment hence providing for it in the budget.

 

He said apart from providing for capital expenditure, “substantial portion of the ABFA has gone into the development of human capital.”

 

In his view, the investment in the education sector would inure to the benefit of the country going forward adding that not only was government compelled to invest the money into infrastructure but “we are also compelled to pay for arrears accumulated under the previous administration for some of these infrastructural projects.”

 

 

 

 

 

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