Members of Parliament (MPs) on the Minority side of the House are reluctant to support the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation’s (GNPC) request for Parliament’s approval of over Two Billion Cedis for its Activities within the year 2016.
Debating on the Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy which is requesting for the money for GNPC to undertake its projects within the year, MP for Abuakwa South Constituency, Samuel Atta Akyea said that ‘Mr Speaker there is no denial, the fact that GNPC is a strategic entity in the economy. I bet to submit that if GNPC has truly and properly applied itself, by now GNPC would have been so resourceful to the point that there would be no need for us to even worry ourselves that we need to take money from the national kitty and support their activities’.
The NPP MP added that ‘nobody is trying to undermine what GNPC is doing. We are only trying to say that there is the necessity to do proper financial arrangement to the point that GNPC will add so much to the economy because we are not just going to rely on cocoa and the rest of them but what they are must be sufficient to even give us (Ghana) about a third of our budget revenue.
‘Mr Speaker I am not too worried about some of the things GNPC has done or has not done but we are just being told that relating to a guarantee of a 100 million Dollars, no reference was made to this House, GNPC has not given us any explanation with respect to that guarantee’, the MP alluded.
The Lawmaker further stated that ‘I am of the view that if GNPC would want to go lawless by not making some of their important decisions known to this House, then why should we approve their programmes.
Hon. Atta Akyea also enunciated that ‘the Report is not comprehensive enough. Mr Speaker for instance I sit here as a lawyer but I cannot understand why this House would want to approve huge sums of money for a new building structure when the total amount is unknown. This programme does not tell the House what is the cost, the contract sum of the new project, we don’t know. And if we are not sure how much we are supposed to commit ourselves to this new structure, is a ‘why’ without end. So if you quoted for the new structure just for this year 115.42 million cedis, Mr Speaker are we not insulting our oversight intelligence by approving the unknown.’
The MP questioned that ‘if we approve this, then 2017 what are we going to approve? So we should have a comprehensive worth programme telling us that our exposure in relation to this huge structure is in the sum of so so and so and we are approving this quantum for this year, what is left is the sum of this. That is a sensible approach of trying to convince everybody that this is where we are going.’ ‘Mr Speaker until they bring to us where we are going with this project the end … and Mr Speaker very soon when you have retired comfortably they will be insulting us that when you were approving the small you didn’t understand the bigger picture. There is a poverty of reporting insofar as this Report is concerned. They have not shown us where we are going with this edifice and we should know that is a sensible approach of our oversight. We should know how much is going to cost us and how much we are paying this year for the construction of the edifice, the Lawyer demanded.
‘Hon. Members, at this point I will wish to defer further debate to another date and I will plead with the Hon. Minister for Petroleum to prepare to address all these issues on the next date so Hon. Members the debate is deferred, the First Deputy Speaker Of Parliament, Hon. Ebo Barton-Odro deferred the debate for the second time.
Over Two Billion Cedis (GH 2,631,650,000.00 cedis)
The Corporation seeks to use the money to undertake petroleum development and production projects within the year. The Greater Jubilee Field Development, the Tweneboa-Enyenra- Ntomme (TEN) Development, the Sankofa-Gye-Nyame (SGN) Development and the Saltpond Offshore Production are some of the projects. The rest of the projects are the New Office Building, Research and Technology (RAT), the Beach Road Redevelopment, the National Emergency Response Centre and the ICT Upgrade Expansion.
Briefing Parliament on the Report, the Chairman of the Committee on Mines and Energy, Amadu Sorogho informed the House that ‘having duly scrutinised the Programme of Activities of the GNPC and the associated financial requirements for the 2016 Financial Year, the Committee believes that they fall within the scope of the mandate of the Corporation under the PNDC Law 64.’
He added that the Activities have also been found to be in line with the Corporation’s strategic objective of becoming a stand-alone operator in 2019 and a world class operator by 2027.
‘The Committee therefore recommends to the House to adopt its Report and to approve the Programmme of Activities of the GNPC for the year 2016 in accordance with Section 7(3)(b) of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 2011 (Act 815)’, the Chairman entreated the House.
On Thursday, May 27, the Legislators strongly debated on the Report and Members on the Minority Side were not enthused with the Report hence urged the House to reject it.
The First Deputy Speaker, Hon. Ebo Barton-Odro deferred the debate on the Report and directed leadership to programme the Petroleum Minister to appear before the House to clarify certain issues on the Report. The Petroleum Minister was in the House on Tuesday, May 31 but debate on the Report was inconclusive hence the Speaker informed him to reappear before the House on the next adjourned date to address issues raised in the Report.