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SEPTEMBER 27, 2016
 

The oil and gas sector, globally continues to be a major boost for economic growth for countries that are able to effectively manage the resource.

In Ghana, the anticipation wasn’t different after the discovery of oil and the subsequent production in commercial quantities from 2010. For most people, however, the anticipated ability of oil revenues to spearhead development in the country is not so evident, five years on.

 

The US$3.2billion that has come in as revenues from the sale of oil from the Jubilee Field over the period, for many, has been poorly managed despite the institution of policies and laws to ensure effective management.

Then comes in the Tweneboa, Enyera and Ntomme (TEN) fields in August 2016, ahead of the general elections, which is expected to ramp up production of the country’s oil and subsequently increase its revenues, but management of the revenues continue to be of concern to many.

“With the TEN coming on with 20,000 barrels a day and with ENI to come on with gas in addition, it means there would be an extra revenue that is been anticipated and if it comes, it is going to help improve infrastructure work of whichever political party that wins; so whoever puts it in their manifesto is in the right direction,” the Chairman of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), Professor Kingsley Buah- Bassuah said in an interview on September 22.

Parties on oil

Ahead of the December polls, the various political parties earlier this year, launched their policy positions on the sector, detailing how they will be addressing issues relating to transparency, revenue management and others.

The political parties that launched the policy positions include the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and the People’s National Convention (PNC).

For the NDC, the enactment of various laws such as the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 2011 (Act 815), the Petroleum Commission Act, 2011 (Act 821) and the Petroleum Local Content and Local Participation Regulations 2013 (L.I.2204) are to ensure a transparent, effective and efficient natural resource management regime for the oil and gas sector and this would continue beyond the elections.

The NPP, as part of their policy position, said it was going to promote transparency and accountability through legislation as the current level of transparency in the sector was not enough.

For the PNC, the party would ensure that information and public documents, including those related to contracting processes from the oil and gas sector, is made accessible and oil and gas contracts shall be subjected to the Public Procurement Act (PPA).

The CPP, in their position paper, said it was going to develop the institutional capacity of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to ensure the efficient audit and declaration of revenue from the extractive sector. It would also ensure the passage of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) Bill, as well as strengthening the institutional capacity of the PIAC to facilitate greater transparency and accountability in the management of the extractive sector revenue.

Implementation is key

Currently, all the parties have proposed policies and institution of Acts to streamline the management of the oil and gas sector, but the impact would be felt when it is implemented to the latter.

The Head of Policy at the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Dr Ishmael Ackah, in an interview said there was the need for political parties to incorporate their visions for the sector into the long term development plan of the country to ensure that these proposed policies are implemented.

It is high time we compute some of those promises especially the ones in the manifestos to be able to hold them accountable to it. We should also try and coordinate with the NDPC so that some of the nice ideas will be factored into the long term plan we are developing, so when they come it doesn’t become only party manifesto they are implementing, but they are implementing a national policy,” he said.

A citizen, Mr Michael Thompson who also shared his perspective on the relevance of oil and gas issues in an election year in an interview said “it is one thing drawing policies and another implementing them without diversions to the latter. The issue of transparency in the disbursement of oil proceeds needs more scrutiny than stated, which brings us to the right to information in this country.”

Expectations ahead of elections

With about two months to election 2016, and campaign of political parties gathering steam, issues pertaining to the oil sector and management of its revenues continue to be on the minds of people.

For Dr Ackah, any government seeking power should be able to clearly state how it would deal with the volatility in oil prices looking at how it could affect government’s budget.

“Oil revenues are a major component of government revenue, so you can see that when there was a shortfall in oil prices, it affected government, and it had to go to Parliament to revise its budget,” he said.

He added, “we want a government that can put in measures to deal with the volatility of oil prices. Any government coming in should have the capacity to deal with the impact of the volatility of oil prices on its revenues.”

Mr Thompson said he expected to hear the political party policies speak on how to channel some of the proceeds into developing a more sustainable energy source for Ghana.

“You see, owing to previous ditching of policies when elected into power, I would like to see more than just policies to enable me decide whom to vote for. What I will need are measures to ensure there are checks to coerce governments to follow through their policies. The more commitment I see, the better my chances of voting for that party,” he said. —GB

Source:  http://www.graphic.com.gh/business/business-news/making-oil-revenues-count-in-an-election-year.html

SEPTEMBER 13, 2016
 

Outspoken oil and gas consultant, Dr. Steve Manteaw has entreated individuals and groups affected by Ghana’s oil production and activities to claim compensation by going through the petroleum revenue management Act, section 24.

‘Usually in law, when there is such a provision, regulations provide how to access this compensation, so lets wait till the regulations are out and we see how this can be implemented,’ he said.

Dr. Steve Manteaw was speaking to Ultimate News’ Western regional correspondent Emmanuel Ohene Gyan on the sidelines of a three-day training workshop for journalists in Takoradi to amplify oil and gas issues during this year’s general elections organized by Penplusbyte.

Touching on fishermen in the enclave who have been complaining that activities at the Jubilee field has affected their work, he said ‘I think the appropriate framework for dealing with concerns of the fishermen with the environmental, social impact assessment framework, having done this, it requires that the companies produce environmental management plan, if indeed they identify the impact on the fishermen,… there was a certain downplaying of the impact on fishermen and so there was no provision in the environmental management plan, the only avenue opened to the fishermen will be to resort to the court for compensation’.

The Petroleum and Revenue Management Act, section 24 states that individuals, communities and groups who have negatively been impacted as a result of Ghana’s oil production can ask for compensation.

Source: http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Individuals-affected-in-Ghana-s-Oil-production-advised-to-seek-compensation-469203

SEPTEMBER 13, 2016

The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) has discovered that oil revenue allocated to three projects in Upper West and Northern regions might have gone into private pockets as a visit to the project sites reveal that no such projects exist.

The missing oil-funded projects are: rehabilitation of irrigation dam at Douri in the Jirapa District of the Upper West Region, rehabilitation of irrigation dam at Nakori in Wa Municipality, also in the Upper West Region, as well as the construction of 6-unit classroom block at Farikiya Islamic Institute in the Tamale Metropolis of the Northern Region.

A total amount of GH₵99,196.70 was allocated to the three projects that PIAC could locate at the project sites.

The projects in question are funded with proceeds from the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) in the Upper West and Northern Regions.

The exposé followed visits by PIAC to monitor the existence of ABFA-funded projects and progress of work done as well as state of completion.

An amount of GH₵52,950 was allocated from the ABFA in 2014 toward the rehabilitation of the irrigation dam at Douri in the Jirapa District of the Upper West Region.

The rehabilitation of the irrigation dam at Nakori in Wa Municipality, also in the Upper West Region, received GH₵15,970 from the ABFA in 2014.

In 2015, an amount of GH₵30,276.70 was disbursed from the ABFA for the construction of 6-unit classroom block at Farikiya Islamic Institute in the Tamale Metropolis of the Northern Region.

Dr Manteaw calls for probe

Dr Steve Manteaw, a member of PIAC, has, therefore, called on the Auditor-General’s department to audit all oil-money-funded projects as well as establish value for money in all the projects.

He said if the Auditor-General confirms that the monies went into private pockets, the monies should be retrieve and necessary sanctions meted out to those who misappropriated public resources.

“We need to decentralize the implementation of projects funded with oil money.

“Everything is centralised. So, what we found is that at the regional level and also at the district level, authorities were unaware of that there were projects being funded with oil money in their jurisdictions.

“Involving them will make for proper supervision in ensuring that the work is done to specification,” Dr Manteaw told The Finder on the sidelines of an Editor’s Liaison organised by Penplusbytes.

It was on the topic “Amplifying Oil and Gas Issues, Ghana Elections 2016”.

Dr Manteaw stated that the Finance Minister is supposed to provide update on the state of implementation of various projects but because he is not providing them and “we are unable to know whether the projects are being implemented or not.

“The minister should be called to order to comply with the law,” he stressed.

PIAC abandon press conference on the loot

A planned press conference to make the findings public by PIAC was called off at the 11th hour.

And my information is that the Vice-Chairman, with the support of the Chairman, preferred that PIAC wrote to the Minister of Finance for a response to the findings before going public.

The Finder understands that line of action was consequently taken and the minister was given up to August 18, 2016 to respond but, as at today, there has been no response.

Rehabilitation of Irrigation Dam at Douri, Jirapa District

Community members revealed that no work had taken place at the site since 1998 when a Japanese Grant was released for the construction of the existing irrigation project.

It came to light that opinion leaders and local authorities in the community were unaware of the release of funds for the rehabilitation of the dam, even though GH₵52, 950 of ABFA was earmarked for the project in 2014.

Rehabilitation of Irrigation Dam at Nakori in Wa Municipality

It is learnt that the rehabilitation of the dam was being undertaken by Alhaji Adamu, a local contractor but, since 2006, only a bridge had been constructed over the dam and two holes which had been dug are yet to have pipes fixed to convey water through canals for irrigation.

The dam when completed will be of immense benefit to the community and a sum of GH₵15,970 from the 2014 ABFA was allocated to for it but the PIAC team was unable to tell what it was used for.

PIAC is calling on the Ministries of Finance and Water resources, Works & Housing to provide further information on the project in order to determine what the funds have been used for.

Construction of 6-Unit Classroom Block at Farikiya Islamic Institute in the Tamale Metropolis

According to PIAC, this project, with an allocation of GH₵30,276.70 from the 2015 ABFA could not be traced in the school.

Authorities at the school had no knowledge of the allocation of the cash for the construction of a six-unit classroom block for the school.

According to them, the most recent project undertaken at the school was a Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFUND) project which was completed in 2014.

Having been unable to identify this project, PIAC called on the Ministries of Finance and Education to provide further details on this project, including the date of award of contract, the contractor(s) for the project, other source(s) of funding for the project and other relevant information to enable PIAC and the citizenry to trace the whereabouts of the project or the allocated funds.

3 Other projects visited

The PIAC committee also found that three projects funded from ABFA were in various stages of completion but the team was not impressed with some findings.

Construction of two-storey dormitory block at Zebilla Senior High Technical School

This project, which began in 2012 by the Ministry of Education, was stalled in 2014 due to lack of funds.

In 2015, the government allocated GH₵85,606.48 of ABFA to the project in order to resume construction.

During the committee’s visit, it was found that as beneficiaries, authorities of the School and the District Assembly did not know about the sources of funding, contracting process and implementation of project since there was no sign post detailing the funding and contractor executing the project in accordance with regulations.

The committee also noted that earlier work on the building was already showing signs of deterioration, with leakages in some parts of the roof, a clear sign that the structure would require re-roofing.

Payment for the Rehabilitation of Science Resource Centre at St. Francis Girls Senior High School (SHS), Jirapa District

This project was allocated GH₵44,086.97 from the 2015 ABFA and involved the tiling of the floors, renovation of the ceilings and painting of the laboratories. The science resource centre serves St. Francis Girls SHS and five other adjoining Senior High Schools in the region.

School authorities told the committee that they had other pressing needs which could have been funded and had they been consulted in the choice of projects to be undertaken they would have made the necessary input.

They noted that rehabilitation of the resource centre without provision of laboratory equipment as well as relevant resources and other facilities in the laboratories for the learning of science, would be of little impact.

Payment of Electrical Works for Upgrade of Electrical Power Supply at Bagabaga College of Education, Tamale Metropolis

This project, according to the authorities at the Bagabaga College of Education, became necessary as a result of the low and unstable power supply to the institution.

An amount ofGH₵248,245was allocated from the 2015 petroleum funds for the upgrade of electrical power supply.

PIAC found that new electrical cables had been fixed alongside old cables, a transformer which was meant to be installed to step up the voltage supplied to the College of Education was left at the administrative block of the College whilst the school still suffered unstable power supply.

In addition, the technician, who conducted the team around the project, could not explain why the transformer was not installed since the college was not involved in the project execution.

Source: Finder Newspaper

SEPTEMBER 13, 2016

Atuabogas

The Chief Executive of Ghana Gas, George Sipa Yankey disclosed this to the press after an interaction with engineers and staff of gas producing company after completion of maintenance work on the plant.

The Ghana National Gas (Ghana Gas) has secured a second overhead compressor in a bid to ensure continuous gas supply to the Aboadze thermal plant amid growing demand for power.

The Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Gas, George Sipa Yankey disclosed this to the press after an interaction with engineers and staff of the company after completion of maintenance works on the plant.

Per current arrangement, Ghana Gas would have to shutdown its gas processing plants after every 4000 hours of operation for maintainance.

The gas processing plant at Atuabo was shutdown in September for its third maintenance schedule after 4000 hours of operations.

The new overhead compressor will ensure that the plant continuous to pump gas even during routine maintenance.

The compressor, Dr Yankey said, will be installed in the coming months.

“This mandatory shutdown of every 4000 hours is going to be the last one… as you see shortly we have in place the equipment, the components for a second overhead compressor. When that is installed, anytime that one [compressor] does 4000 hours then other will be brought into service while maintenance goes on,” he said of the new compressor.

“So this five days, one week, 10 days periodic measure  shutdown will be a thing of the past,” he added.

SEPTEMBER 2, 2016

fpsoThe Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has expressed concern over the rising incidence of fuel smuggling through the abuse of the export and re-export regimes.


To stem the abuse and prevent further loss of revenue, GRA said traders engaged in exporting and re-exporting of petroleum product are required to, from September 1, follow a series of guidelines for the documentation and removal of their respective consignments.

In an advertorial, GRA said an exporter shall “obtain an export licence from the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) in order to qualify to remove petroleum products for export/re-export from any storage depot in the country”.

Other guidelines issued include the following:

1. Apply to the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority to be registered as a self-declarant for the purposes of Customs Documentation.

2. Obtain a removal bond from an insurance company.

3. Report to the Assistant Commissioner of Customs, Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), with a copy of the signed bond and the export licence to commence loading.

4. The Temporary Vehicle Importation (TVI) declaration and payment receipt on all foreign-registered vehicles are to be submitted to the TOR Collection of the Customs Division, together with the collection order for the approval before loading.

5. Customs will seal the loaded Bulk Road Vehicles (BRV) after loading. Where an external agency has been contracted to seal the loaded trucks, their seal shall be an addition to the Customs seal.

6. The exporter shall prepare a declaration with the appropriate Customs Procedure Code on the consignment and send a copy to the Document Verification Officer (DVO) at the depot for processing.

7. The exporter shall obtain from Customs a hard copy of the details of all the trucks conveying the consignment before final dispatch. These details shall include the particulars of all the trucks as well as their respective loading capacities and the numbers of all the attached Customs seals.

8. Drivers of the BRVs shall sign an undertaking with Customs before dispatch (attach as Annex A)

9. Each BVR carrying part of the consignment shall report to all the Customs checkpoints along the routine checks to be conducted.

According to the GRA, the guidelines are for strict enforcement. “Any deviations shall constitute prima facie evidence of an attempt to breach Customs Control and may be penalised under existing legislation,” the advertorial said.

Source: http://www.classfmonline.com/1.9804348

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