GNPC to borrow over $500m to finance controversial 2018 budget

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The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has indicated it will take a loan of more than $564.81 million to implement its activities for 2018.

In total, the Corporation requires $986.13 million for implementation of its programmes for the year.

The Corporation’s budget for 2018 was contained in a report by Parliament’s Mines and Energy Committee.

According to the report, GNPC expects $356.43 million revenue from the country’s oil fields – Jubilee, TEN, Sankofa-Gye-Nyame Fields – other sources such as Training and Technology as well as investments.

The funding gap will also be financed by $64.89 million brought forward from 2017.

The Corporation which is mandated to undertake the exploration, development, production and disposal of petroleum as part of its programs wants to revive the Prestea Sankofa Gold Limited as part of its activities this year.

According to the Corporation, it seeks to pump $24.78 million into the gold mining company to enable it to meet certain liabilities.

GNPC would in 2018 continue its effort at securing a permanent office and will be budgeting some $20 million towards that project. Also, it made a provision of $10 million to move its operational office to Sekondi-Takoradi.

For research and technology, the Corporation allocated $15 million for the RAT project to secure an electronic storage centre for its operations.

Further, GNPC has allocated $1.89 million to redevelop its Beach Road property into a facility to house staff who are on working visit to Takoradi to serve as transit quarters for staff on transfer.

To cater for both new and existing commitments, the Corporation has budgeted $28.95 million for the year.

Although GNPC has been told by parliament to focus on its core mandate and stop its support of some activities, their 2018 budget shows $2.5 million for sports and $1.5 million for Sports Legacy projects.

Reacting to the news, Co-chair of the Ghana Extractive Transparency Initiative, Dr Steve Manteaw, told Joy News’ Evans Mensah on Joy FM’s Newsnight programme that the budget is “pretty surprising”.

He said the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) had concerns about GNPC’s expenditure while in opposition and it is time to walk the talk.

“In the 2016 NPP manifesto, it indicated clearly that one of the things it wants to do with GNPC is to restructure it to focus on its core mandate.

“I don’t think some of the huge monies that have been approved for construction of offices and other investments the Corporation is mentioning is one of the ways to restructure GNPC,” he added his disappointment.

To remedy the situation, he said, the over politicisation of GNPC which is a problem must cease.

Questioning some of those selected to head the company, he added, “I would want us to insulate the Corporation from political interferences in terms of its management team.”

“They will then get to a point where decisions will be taken on the basis of sound business practices.”

However, he said he is all for GNPC investing in ventures that it deems profitable and viable, to make money from it to fund some of its other projects.

Source: myjoyonline.com