The Ministry of Finance has asked the public to ignore what it describes as misleading claims by Dr Steve Manteaw, a former Chairman of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) suggesting that an amount of GH¢2,132,188,611.01 of oil revenues is missing from the books.
Dr Manteaw had said in a Facebook post on Friday, December 4 that “Many have been asking me about the missing oil money. Here are the details: 2017= GHC 400,914,441; 2018= GHC 251,377,870.01; 2019 = GHC 1,479,896,300.00. Total amount of oil money the government has been unable to account for = GHC2,132,188,611.01.
“Why would you vote for a government that has failed to fully account for your oil revenues?”
But in a response, the Ministry of Finance dismissed his claim saying “The alleged missing amount reported by Dr. Manteaw on Facebook, is significantly different from the amount of GH¢1,479,896,299.86 reported by PIAC as the unutilised Annual Budget Funding Arrangement (ABFA) balance in their 2019 Annual Report (pages 13,15,and 20), and published on its website on 23rd June 2020.
We have noted that Dr. Manteaw erroneously presents the cumulative unutilised ABFA balances for 2017/18/19 of GH¢1,479.90 million as the closing balance for 2019 alone, then adds the 2017/18 closing balances of GH¢400.91 and GH¢251.38 thus inflating the cumulative ABFA closing balances by an additional GH¢652.29 million, bringing his cumulative closing balance to GH¢2,132.19 million as reported in his Facebook post.
“From the records at the Ministry of Finance, consistent with the Annual Reports on the performance of the Petroleum Funds for 2017, 2018, and 2019 published by the Ministry of Finance on its website, and the PIAC Report on the Management of the Petroleum Revenues for 2019, the unutilised ABFA balances at the end of 2019 is as follows;
“The above balances were unutilised at the end of each year when the books were closed mainly because of delays in submission of Interim Payment Certificates (IPCs) by MDAs for payment. These were then settled in the subsequent year.”
Regarding the amounts unutilised at the end of 2017/2018, the Ministry said “The sum of the unutilised (closing) balance of GH¢652.29 million for 2017/2018, were subsequently transferred to the Road Fund Secretariat, under the Ministry of Roads and Highways and utilised in line with the provisions of the Petroleum Revenue Management (PRM) Act, 2011 (Act 815), as amended, to reduce the Fund’s indebtedness to road contractors and creditor banks.
“The 2019 unutilised (closing) ABFA balance of GH¢827.60 million, on the other hand, was utilised in 2020 to partially meet the funding shortfall of GH¢2,679.99 million from the approved 2020 ABFA Budget of GH¢4,336.18 million caused by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic resulting in a supply glut which then impacted negatively on crude oil prices globally.
“From the explanation provided above which was hitherto conveyed unambiguously in our letter No.ESRD/EPU/30/06/20 to PIAC (copy attached), and also at the meeting of the Finance Committee of Parliament on the 2019 PIAC report, it is misleading to suggest that an amount of GH¢2,132,188,611.01 of oil revenues is missing from the books.
“Indeed, Ghana’s PRMA, touted as one of the best petroleum management laws in the world, provides the requisite controls in addition to our PFM laws and regulations to ensure that our oil resources are properly and efficiently utilised and accounted for.”