By: Fred Yaw Sarpong-Daily Express
The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) has called for action against the Oranto/Stone Energy for failing to pay the outstanding surface rental invoice to the government.
In addition, the committee also asked GRA to charge the company with penalty for default as specified in Section 3 (4) of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA).
This was part of the recommendations made by the committee in the 2014 PIAC Report on Management of Petroleum Revenues which was launched recently in Accra.
Even though the PIAC report did not specified the amount Oranto/Stone Energy supposed to pay to the government as the outstanding surface rental invoice, the committee said it is important GRA will enforce the company to pay any amount due the state with penalty.
The committee also asked Ministry/Minister of Finance (MoF), Bank of Ghana (BoG) and the Investment Advisory Committee (IAC) to work together to establish some guidelines for interest to be earned on any unutilized funds be it on the balances of Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) or those set aside for specific purposes.
“This will help to forestall the recurrence of the situation experienced in 2014 whereby US$222.93 million (GHc666.06 million) remained in the Consolidated Fund through the year,” the report noted.
According to PIAC, section 23 (4) should be amended to allow any excess funds over the cap to remain in the Ghana Stabilization Fund (GSF) until such a time that debt repayments are to be made before being transferred into the Debt Service Account (DSA).
It also recommended that the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) must publish the returns earned on the unutilized cash-in-hand of US$187.22 million, which GNPC said it was invested in anticipation of pipeline projects.
“In order to facilitate easy reconciliation and authentication of payments and disbursements of the ABFA to various priority areas, the exchange rate(s) used to convert the amounts into cedis should be published by MoF in the Annual and Reconciliation Reports on the Petroleum Funds,” PIAC recommended.
The committee asked for a critical appraisal of the viability of the continuous operation of the Saltpond field against the backdrop of low crude oil price. “With crude oil price projected to hover around US$52 in 2015, the business case for operating the Saltpond field in 2015 has been further weakened considering that fact the oilfield produced a barrel of crude oil at a costs US$31.22 in 2014,” the report stated.