The Minority in Parliament is mounting pressure on the Ministry of Energy and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to cease what they describe as clandestine move to off-loading Ghana’s 7% shares in one of the oilfields to PetroSA, a South African national oil company.
Ghana acquired the 7% shares from Anadarko West Cape Three Points Company, when the latter chose to wind up its operations in the country.
In a statement released in Accra yesterday, the Ranking Member of the Mines and Energy Committee, John Abdulai Jinapor, referred to correspondences about the deal between the GNPC and PetroSA, which The Chronicle published in full yesterday.
According to the Minority, the documents of the transaction, which has met strict opposition from the Minister for Energy, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, reveal “a covert attempt” by the GNPC to offload the shares, “which we consider illegal and unconscionable.”
Readers may want to log on to The Chronicle website, www.thechronicle.com.gh, to read in detail about the issue the minority is talking about.
The Minority Spokesperson on Energy and Mines also said they had taken note of the attempt by the Minister of Finance (MoF) to commit the nation to borrowing “huge sums” of money from LITASCO, a private company on the back of Jubilee Oil Holdings Limited (JOHL).
He argued that for a government that has “over-borrowed its way into a state of bankruptcy,” the least this government can do will be to refrain from such an attitude, especially against future oil receipts.
“This action is highly reprehensible and all steps must be taken to pull the breaks on this government from their insatiable desire to keep borrowing with the least opportunity.
This act, if not checked, will further exacerbate the already precarious debt levels Ghana has currently found itself at,” he asserted.
The documents in the possession of The Chronicle on the deal, including Minister Prempeh’s distress call to Jubilee House to intervene in the matter, emphasised that he was not going to give his consent, which is needed to seal the transaction.
According to Dr. Opoku Prempeh, it was revealed during one of their meetings in South Africa that “it is actually the Board Chairman of GNPC who has been pushing for PetroSA to pre-empt the Ghana stake, which is a posture that clearly undermines government policy.
“It is quite scandalous for the Chairman to be undermining both the viability of GNPC and also the policy objectives of improving government revenue from petroleum, especially in the context of the energy transition,” the Energy Minister told Jubilee House in a letter.
Again, in the Minister for Energy’s strongly worded letter to Jubilee House, reporting the Board Chairman of the GNPC, Freddie Blay, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh mentioned the LITASCO deal.
He touched on it to remind the President that the Board Chairman of GNPC was aware of various communications between the government of Ghana and that of South Africa.
He said that “again, at His Excellency’s instance, GNPC and the MoF have embarked on discussions with LITASCO SA to try to refinance GNPC’s outstanding debts with LITASCO and to support other GNPC transactions by leveraging the JOHL stake.”
Following our report yesterday on the matter, some 29 civil society organizations (CSOs) held a press conference and demanded the immediate removal of Freddie Blay, GNPC Board Chairman, and the acting Chief Executive Officer, Opoku Ahweneeh Danquah.
They argue that, considering that Ghana not long ago beseeched the International Monetary Funds for succour, “it cannot be seen to engage in fiscal recklessness that undermines its recovery.”
The CSOs, made up of the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers Ghana (COPEC) and 26 others say the two men have “become a threat to Ghana’s interest in the petroleum sector.”