The Ministry of Energy has stated that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) cannot claim credit for the accelerated growth in the oil sector.
The ministry has described as “misleading” assertions made by the NDC that it adopted policies to ensure the nation consistently increased its share in most petroleum agreements that were negotiated during their tenure.
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The NDC in a policy dialogue series last Wednesday, addressed by the Member of Parliament for Yapei/Kasawgu, Mr John Jinapor, accused the government of wasting resources and insisted that the NDC has a far superior record during its tenure compared to that of the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo government.
In a reaction to the NDC’s claim, the Deputy Minister of Energy in charge of the petroleum sector, Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, at a press briefing in Accra yesterday, said the NDC did not have the moral right to compare its record to that of the Akufo-Addo government.
“The NDC cannot claim credit for the growth in government take in these contracts. These petroleum agreements were all negotiated and signed by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government under President John Agyekum Kufuor. All the petroleum agreements that are producing crude oil in the country were signed by the Kufuor’s government.” he explained.
He described as “factually untrue” the NDC’s claim that all the13 petroleum agreements it signed during its tenure enhanced fiscal terms and increased national stake.
“The 13 Agreements signed by the NDC were signed between 2013 and 2016. Out of these, the only companies that have met their minimum obligations are ENI and Springfield. AGM had to change ownership under the NPP Government before it could meet its obligations. The remaining 10 companies were to drill 11 wells. They have not drilled a single well.
They were to spend $700 million, but they spent only $30 million,” he explained.
Reacting to the NDC’s claim that it established the Public Interest and Accountability Committee(PIAC) as an independent statutory body mandated to promote transparency and accountability in the management of petroleum resources in Ghana, Dr Adam said “the NDC created a weak PIAC as the committee was not given teeth to bite, but to merely produce semi-annual and annual reports, whose adverse findings cannot be enforced.”
“The NPP government is currently holding consultations with stakeholders on a draft natural resources governance bill, which is going to empower PIAC to enforce its findings,” he added.
BOST and TOR
Dr Adam also indicated that contrary to the NDC’s claim that the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST) and the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) were making profits during its tenure, they were rather running at a loss.
According to him, BOST, in January 2017, when the NDC handed over power, owed $624 million to suppliers, Bulk Oil Distribution Companies (BDCs) and related parties in respect of crude oil imports for processing at TOR and refined products which got lost from BOST tanks.
“But as at February 2020, the outstanding amount to settle to clear the books now stands at $57 million. An audit on BOST accounts shows that between the periods of 2013 and 2016, there was a significant rise in the net losses by the company with the highest net loss of GH¢569 million recorded in the year 2016. The 2018 management account showed a 70 per cent reduction in losses from the previous year, 2017. Similarly, the 2019 management account indicated a further 41 per cent reduction in the loss level from the year 2018,” Dr Adam stated.
Dr Adam described the challenge thrown by the NDC to the government to shut down the power plants procured under the Mahama administration to see the magnitude of “dumsor” that will befall the country as “myopic”.
“We wish to remind the NDC that we are using the ‘Mahama power plants’ not because there are no other generating plants, most of which are owned by government, but because they committed the state to take or pay contracts over those plants which require us to pay for the power even if we don’t use the power. President Akufo-Addo will not subject Ghanaians to such a challenge by shutting down the plants and still be paying for them with taxes from Ghanaians,” he stated.
“The government of President Akufo-Addo has demonstrated significant commitment and resolve to manage the energy resources of our country efficiently for the benefit of our people,” Dr Adam added.