Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas in Ghana (CSPOG) has said while it generally supports government’s proposals to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is firmly against touching the Heritage Fund.

In a press release issued on Tuesday, CSPOG said Finance Minister’s proposals, especially those relating to cost-cutting measures and expenditure realignment, including a reduction in GNPC’s share of revenues are commendable.

The Civil Society Platform, however, notes that the difficulty Ghana finds itself in currently would not have been this dire if the government had kept religiously to the spirit and letter of the rules governing the petroleum revenue allocations.

“Indeed, we recognise that we are not in normal times, but it is also important that current and future governments learn from some of the grievous mistakes we’ve made in order to avoid a repetition in future,” it said.

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, on Monday, announced his intention to amend the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA), the law governing a raft of policies in the petroleum sector, including the Ghana Heritage Fund (GHF), to enable him to draw from the Fund.

The Ghana Heritage Fund, a creation of the PRMA, provides an endowment to support the development of future generations when the petroleum reserves have been depleted. It is currently estimated to be worth $591.1 million.

Since the intention to withdraw from the Fund was announced in Parliament, the Minority and civil society organisations have kicked against it.

Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas in Ghana urged the government to consider other measures, such as further expenditure cuts in addition to the other prudent measures announced by the Finance Minister on Monday.

“We also welcome the pledge by the executive (Ministers, Deputies, and other political appointees) to contribute their three months’ salary to the fight against the epidemic,” the group said.

Read the full press release by CSPOG below.