Earmarks US$20m to build a Corporate Head Office
-US$10m to build Operational Head Office in Takoradi
-NDC MPs raise alarm; caution the decision to borrow to fund those projects
A majority voice vote, on the floor of Parliament, Thursday, was enough to ensure the safe approval of the 2018 program of activities of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).
This follows the adoption of the report of the Select Committee on Mines and Energy on the corporation’s program of activities by the legislature.
Key among the program of activities of the corporation for the fiscal year include the construction of a corporate head office in Accra at a total estimated cost of US$20.0 million; the construction of a corporate operational head office in Takoradi at a cost of US$10.0 million; and the refurbishment of the Petroleum House (Head Office) at a cost of US$13.4 million.
The Corporation has allocated an amount of US$15million for its Research and Technology (RAT) project which is expected to offer an electronic storage center for GNPC’s geosciences, engineering and production data; a core and tapes storage facility; various physical, chemical and research laboratories as well as offices for the RAT staff.
Further to that the corporation has earmarked an amount of US$1.50million to convert its Club House at Community 3 in Tema into an ultra-modern clinic with a resident doctor to safeguard staff health and wellbeing.
The corporation has also allocated an amount of US$1.89million to redevelop its Beach Road property into a facility to house staff working visit to Takoradi to serve as a transit quarters for staff on transfer to Takoradi or undertaking offshore duties.
The above mentioned projects, according to the oil exploration, development and production company, will be funded from a US$75 million loan facility it is seeking from Societe Generale.
In addition to that, GNPC plans to enter into a tripartite arrangement with the Ghana Navy and a third-party investor to acquire a total of six (6) patrol vessels at an estimated cost of US$45million to provide security services for its offshore activities.
That notwithstanding, the corporation has earmarked an amount of US$24.78million to effect payment of critical debt for its subsidiary company, Prestea Sankofa Gold Limited and thereafter dispose of the company.
But the investments the corporation intends carrying out for the year 2018 did not escape criticisms from the Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament (MPs).
The group accused the corporation of inflating project prices much at the expense of the tax payer.
The Ranking Member of the Finance Committee and Spokesperson for the Minority on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, interacting with journalists moments after the adoption of the report of the Select Committee on Mines and Energy on the 2018 program of activities of the GNPC urged the public to show much concern about the activities of the corporation.
He said it beats his imagination for the corporation to earmark US$10million for the construction of a corporate operations head office in Takoradi, noting that there is no building facility in the oil city that would cost such an amount.
He is also wondering why the corporation would veer off its core mandate and invest in mining. Hon. Ato Forson do not also understand why the corporation would want to spend US$45million to procure vessels to monitor its offshore activities.
The corporation has for the past three years been accused of veering off its core mandate to invest in some other unprofitable businesses.
For instance, in 2016, the corporation came under strong public criticism for its guarantee and support for projects deemed not part of its core mandate such as the US$550million Quantum Power Re-gasification project and the US$100million Karpower project.
In 2017, the GNPC again came under public scrutiny, especially, from the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) for investing its proceeds in non-core business of the industry key amongst them was the financing of the Western Corridor Road.
An amount of US$356.43million is expected to be received by the GNPC for the year 2018. The sources of the revenue include incomes from the Jubilee, TEN and Sankofa-Gye-Nyame Fields and others sources such as Training and Technology Grants and investments.
The Corporation however, requires a total of US$986.13million for implementation of its program of activities for the year, leaving a funding gap of US$629.70 that would be financed by cash balance of US$64.89 million brought forward from 2017 and a loan of US$564.81 million.