The Public Interest Accountability Committee (PIAC) has faulted the Finance Ministry for including some unspent ¢440 million from 2017 in this year’s budget expenditure.

PIAC has described as misleading a claim by the Ministry that the ¢ 440 million unspent oil revenue in 2017 is part of its ¢ 1.5 billion budgetary expenditure for this year.

In its supplementary analysis of Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) for 2018 semi-annual report, PIAC said the Ministry confirmed in a meeting that, the ¢440 million outstanding balance from 2017 was not part of the approved expenditures for 2018 under the Appropriation Act for that year.

oil and gas

PIAC explains that the ¢1.55 billion which the Ministry claims is its programmed ABFA expenditure for 2018, represents 70% net petroleum revenues.

According to PIAC, this means the programmed amount is exclusive of the ¢440 million outstanding balance from 2017.

The report by PIAC also stated that the Finance Ministry indeed, confirmed this in a meeting held with PIAC on April 18 at which meeting it explained that because the 2018 budget was presented in September 2017 and the ¢403 million had been approved by Parliament for spending in that year, it could not have been included in the 2018 budget for Parliamentary approval.

Ken Ofori Atta
Photo: Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta

The report also stated that the Ministry confirmed that the ¢440 million outstanding balance from 2017 was therefore not part of the approved expenditures for 2018 under the Appropriation Act for that year.

The Ministry indicated that the unspent amount will need to be brought forward into the 2019 Budget for Parliamentary approval before it could be spent, yet in detailing out the programmed expenditure in respect of the ¢1.55 billion, the Ministry included the ¢440 million balance from 2017.

“The Ministry’s explanation to PIAC and, by extension, to the Ghanaian public is unsatisfactory and misleading, to the extent that it creates the impression that the ¢440 million unspent amount from 2017 has been duly accounted for. If as the Ministry claims, the unspent ABFA amount from 2017 will require Parliamentary approval before being spent, then PIAC advises the Ministry to expunge the amount from its programmed expenditure for 2018,” PIAC stated.

PIAC said it is committed to working with the Ministry to properly account for the unspent amount and the outcome made public in subsequent its report.

PIAC has urged the Ministry to ensure that going forward, its programmed and actual expenditure continue to comply with Section 21(4) of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA), which requires 70% expenditure on public investments and 30% on goods and services.