Parliament has slashed the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation’ (GNPC)’s 2019 expenditure budget by 80 million dollars, Ranking Member of the Select Committee on Energy, Adam Mutawakilu has said.

The Ranking Member of the Select Committee on Energy who disclosed this said there was no justification for some of the projects captured in the 2019 budget of the GNPC.

The committee has also questioned the 50 million dollars the Corporation is requesting to use for the building of a refinery, as parts of government’s plans to create a Petroleum hub in the country.

The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation plans to spend some 43 million cedis on various projects as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility in 2019.
Some of the projects include the building of boreholes and educational scholarships for persons within the communities the company operates.

Although the amount represents 8 percent of the corporation’s total budget of about 800 million dollars for 2019, industry watchers say the 43 million dollars for CSR is on the high side compared to the 20 million dollars the company plans to spend on its core operations including the development of the Voltain Basin.

In 2018, the corporation spent 28 million dollars on CSR which is more than the 25 million dollars it spent on salaries and the 17 million dollars it spent on some operational activities. .
“The GNPC must prove beyond every reasonable doubt what the funds are going to be used for.

We scrutinized every project. And from here the committee will be going on the field to check and ask all the relevant questions,” Mr. Mutawakilu said at a panel discussion on the management of Petroleum funds which was organised by the Institute of Fiscal Studies(IFS).

But in a sharp response, the GNPC refuted claims it is overspending.
Also speaking to Citi Business News at the same event, General Manager of Sustainability Development, at GNPC, Dr. Kwame Baah Nuakoh said those projects are long term investments.

“We invest in the community we operate in. We build their capacity to prepare them for the market so that by the next 15 years they can take up key jobs in the Petroleum sector.”
Meanwhile, the Organizers of the forum, the Institute of Fiscal Studies wants Parliament to place a cap on GNPC’ budget for CSR.

(By Nana Oye Ankrah)