The Akufo-Addo administration is being urged by the Minority caucus in parliament to transfer shares in Jubilee Holdings Limited (JOHL) to the Ghana National Petroleum Commission (GNPC) immediately.
The Minority is of the opinion that the transfer of shares will provide Ghanaians peace of mind that the assets are being properly supervised. It said that doing so will also go a long way toward ensuring proper accountability and efficient oversight of the profits generated by petroleum resources.
“The issue of the divestment of part of Ghana’s stake in the Jubilee Oil Holdings Limited (JOHL) has been a matter of intense discussions in the media these past few days. The Minority in Parliament has observed various exchanges among key government functionaries, notably the Energy Minister, and Board Chairman of the GNPC and hereby wish to make clear our position on this important subject.
“It has been alleged by the Minister of Energy, Hon. Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh that GNPC under the Chairmanship of Mr. Freddie Blay is working on a transaction to relinquish about 50% of the shares of JOHL to PetroSA, the state-owned oil company of South Africa.”Minority Caucus
The minority Caucus claimed that his move does not advance the interests of the Ghanaian people and appears to be at conflict with the value of the JOHL assets to the State. It also urged the GNPC to explain the issue and the reasoning behind the current events in a concise and urgent manner.
The statement added, “As a matter of fact, the Minority will upon the resumption of Parliament file an urgent question for a clarification of this whole saga.”
“However, of far more greater concern to us in the Minority is the manner in which the JOHL assets are held and managed. The JOHL assets were acquired by the Republic of Ghana and thus belong to the people of Ghana.”Minority Caucus
The Caucus also recalled that the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 2011 (Act 815) was passed by the late President John Evans Atta Mills, providing guidelines for the management of Ghana’s oil and gas revenues. Therefore, as required by the Act, revenues from the assets are accrued to or paid out of the Petroleum Holding Fund.
The Minority emphasized this concern as well, pointing out that neither JOHL revenues nor its assets are now subject to PRMA provisions or transferred to the Petroleum Holding Fund.
“The question then arises, if the JOHL asset is as valuable as reported and revenues from it are not remitteddo the Petroleum Fund, where are the revenues lodged, how are they used and under which governance structure are they managed? Does the Auditor-General get to see accounts?
“It is our contention that the JOHL revenues are currently being used as a “slush fund” to pursue all manner of business that has not been approved by Parliament under the usual GNPC budge approval process. The recent lodgment of $100 million of oil revenues in the accounts of JOH, which sparked concerns about the state being deprived of taxes accruing from those revenues lends credence to our concern.”Minority Caucus
Gov’t Should Not Mortgage The Nations Future
The group added that what is even more concerning is that the Minister mentions a plan to try and restructure GNPC’s current obligations by leveraging JOH assets to do so with LITASCO in his letter to the Executive Secretary to the President.
The minority claims it can only presume that the intent here is to forward sell JOHL’s production share to raise this money.
In order to prevent Ghana’s future from being mortgaged off, it also described one of the main principles of the PRMA, which is to restrict the amount“for selling” that the current government may do with its oil and gas assets.
It went on to say that such a move would lack transparency, add to the debt woes of a nation already enmeshed in an IMF program, and possibly violate the constitution.
The Minority in a statement signed by its Leader, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, stated “By this statement, the Minority calls on the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia NPP government to transfer the shares held by JOHL to GNPC without delay, in order that Ghanaians can be assured that appropriate oversight is being exercised on these assets by Parliament and other stakeholders. This will only go a long way to ensure proper accountability and effective monitoring of the revenues accruing from our petroleum resources.”
Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, the Minister of Energy, asserted that GNPC, with Freddie Blay as its Chairman, is negotiating a deal to transfer around 50% of Jubilee Oil Holdings Limited’s shares to PetroSA, South Africa’s state-owned oil business.
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