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Group cautions Finance Minister over Heritage Fund

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta

The Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas (CSPOG) has raised concerns over the Finance Minister’s request for Parliament to amend the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA) to allow some withdrawal from the Ghana Heritage Fund to fund the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme  (CAP).

Dr Steve Manteaw, the Chairman of CSPOG in an interview with the Ghana News Agency said,  the Heritage Fund was established to serve as a store of wealth for future generations.

He explained that section 10 of Act 815 which established the fund provides that, the fund could be touched after 15 years of its establishment and even in that circumstance, parliament will require a two-thirds majority to access only the accrued interest and not the main transfers into the fund.

Dr Manteaw further explained that, had it not been the mismanagement of the portions of the funding from the Oil and Gas revenue to support the budget,  such a request might not be necessary.

He cited some of the mismanagement as the bus branding saga, questionable allocations to MUSIGA, MASLOC and the rest between 2011 to 2016.

He said between 2017 and 2018, an amount of GH¢650 million could not be accounted for.

Dr  Manteaw said, members of the CSPOG, therefore, urged the Ministry of Finance to leave the Ghana Heritage Fund and rather ensure that, funds are channeled regularly into the  Contingency Fund per the law to avoid being caught in such difficult situation as this when disaster strikes.

He encouraged the government to consider other options such as, further expenditure cuts in addition to other prudent measures announced by the Finance Minister.