US$310.34m yet to be paid into Petroleum Holding Fund
In order not to be affected by the Dutch disease, Ghana adopted best practices to ensure the proper management of its oil proceeds.
One of such best practices was the enactment the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 2011 (Act 815), passed on 11 April 2011 to provide the framework for the collection, allocation and management of petroleum revenue in a responsible, transparent, accountable and sustainable manner for the benefit of the citizens of Ghana.
The Act also provides for the establishment of a designated public fund (Petroleum Holding Fund) at the Bank of Ghana to receive and disburse Petroleum Revenue due the Republic.
The Act stipulates that petroleum revenue assessed as due in each month shall be paid by direct transfer into the Petroleum Holding Fund by the fifteenth day of the ensuing month by the entities obliged to make the payment.
However, the current Auditor Generals report has indicated that as at 31st December 2018, a total amount of US$310.34 million was outstanding to be paid into the Petroleum Holding Fund.
The report indicated that out of the total amount, US$308.77 million represents amounts due from the Ghana National Gas Company Limited for gas sold to them by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) while US$1.57 million is for surface rental fees unpaid by some entities.
The report observed that there is a loss of income which would have been earned if the funds had been paid on time and invested.
It said that Ghana Gas Company Limited was written to for their response on the issue, but the Company had not responded to the issue as the time the report was being finalised.
Some Institutions yet to pay their surface rentals are Sahara Fields Energy Ltd., Britannia-U Ghana Ltd and Swiss African Oil Company Ltd., who have failed to honour their payment obligations despite stringent efforts to have them do so.
Gosco/Heritage Exploration and Production Ghana Ltd explained it has not paid its surface rental fees for East Keta Ultra Deepwater Block for 2017-2018 because of a force majeure event that happened in December 2016, when the Togolese Navy interdicted and ordered the sub-contractor engaged by the Operator on behalf of the Contractor Parties to cease operations within the Contract Area.
Meanwhile, UB Resources Ltd and UB Group have paid a total of US$ 37,799.42 into the Petroleum Holding Fund (PHF) in February 2019 to settle the assessment the report captured while A-Z Petroleum Products/ Petrogulf has also paid an amount of US$47,230 into the fund.
The GRA, the body responsible for the collection of these monies, said it is collaborating with the Petroleum Commission to ensure they comply or face the necessary sanctions.