The Chairman of the Oil and Gas Sector of the Association of Ghana Industries has told JoyNews Parliament lacks the moral right to fault the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation on its 2019 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) budget.
This budget, which has generated outrage, Mr Kwame Jantuah said should have been disapproved by Parliament when it came before it.
“This particular budget was sent to Parliament. If Parliament is now questioning it [then] when it came to them why did they not question that figure? Why did they not ask what that $ 43m was going to be used for?”
The concerns about GNPC spending heavily on non-core activities have arisen again.
Civil Society Organisations, as well as the Minority in Parliament, have raised red flags over GNPC’s decision to spend $ 43m on CSR. This includes a donation for the 20th-anniversary celebration of the Paramount Chief of the Akyem Abuakwah Traditional Area, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin.
Addressing Parliament, a former Deputy Power Minister, John Jinapor said the expenditures are improper.
“I hold the view that if you have a company that has a funding gap only one year ago, we are not talking of their total liabilities, just this year alone, they ought to be concentrating on how to pay that money,’’ he admonished.
But Kwame Jantuah says Parliament is closing the stable door after the horse bolted.
He said it should have occurred to Parliament to question the expenditure, especially seeing that GNPC was going to spend $ 20.30m on a core function as the Volta basin explorations and $ 43.05 on a non-core responsibility as CSR.
“Does it not raise eyebrows?”
The lawyer further faulted Parliament for not realising that monies voted to the GNPC from oil revenue cannot be used for Corporate Social Responsibility as it is not income generated from the Corporation’s investment.
Explaining this, he said GNPC, unlike other oil exploration corporations (like Tullow ), currently relies on the government – Oil revenues – for support.
This support is to be used to build the capacity of the GNPC to be able to invest, earn revenue from those investments so that with time, the organisation can wean itself off government support.
But he argues that the GNPC has failed in this regard.