Koforidua, March 12, GNA- Political meddling of the leadership of most State owned commercial establishments continue to be the bane of the country’s economic and growth woes.
There is therefore the need to dilute the top management positions in corporations such the Ghana Cocoa Board, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and Tema Oil Refinery, devoid of politically appointed heads to save the country’s purse.
Dr Steve Manteaw, a member of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) said this during a workshop by PIAC-IFEJ on “Interrogating the 2016 Semi Annual PIAC report in Koforidua.
He said excessive interference by government in the operations of these state owned commercial establishments must critically be looked at and the practice stopped with immediate effect.
He said this would ensure that these business entities ceased to become the playing fields for party foot soldiers and coffers for political activities to the detriment of the State.
Dr Manteaw said the Public Services Commission must rather be allowed to interview prospective candidates with the requisite management certification.
He said an agreed tenure of office should also be given to such candidates or leaders in order to gain the needed confidence and security to transact businesses devoid of fear or favour.
On the privatisation of ECG, Dr Manteaw said he was not enthused about the move by government but rather suggested that the Executive should government float shares in that company to revive it and ensure effectives management.
He expressed wonder why as a country “we should sign agreements which have some clauses over riding the laws of the land and the interest of the country”.
Dr Manteaw said, “the term strategic investors has not done any magic for the country’s economic advancement…look at what happened with Ghana Airways, Acqua Vitens Rand”.
He said there were other economic decisions that had proven to be the best and in the overall interest of the country adding, ” look at Ghana Commercial Bank now…when all hopes were lost …the stock market brought it back to its feet”.
On Hedging of Ghana’s of Oil, he noted that there was no need currently to do so and compared the practice to gambling where one could lose or win depending how the bell swung.
He rather asked the government to tighten the bolts and nuts on transfer prices in the industry to avoid tax evasion.
Dr Manteaw called for sanctions on players who were currently flouting the one month royalty payment agreement.
Mr Kwame Jantuah, Vice Chair of PIAC who presented the half year 2016 report, said crude oil production from the Jubilee field declined by 40 per cent, from 19.08 million barrels in mid year 2015 to 11.44 million barrels over the same period in 2016.
The situation, he attributed to the schedule shutdown of the FPSO for maintenance and faulty turret, which suspended production for 50 days.
Mr Jantuah said revenues from the sector in mid 2016 amounted to 126.41 million dollars, which translated to 55 per cent reduction in revenues collected in mid 2015, which stood at 274.47 million.
Also a total of 9,349 mmscf of wet gas was exported to the Atuabo Gas plant for processing into lean gas, LPG and condensates.
The report said for the first time, the disbursement to GNPC of 22.77 million dollars could only cover 77 per cent of the jubilee financing cost of 29.51 million dollars.
An amount of 45.07 million dollars was allocated to the annual budget funding allocation meanwhile no allocation was made to the Expenditure and Amortisation of Loans for oil and gas.
This was because GNPC was expected to assume the responsibility of paying the China Development Bank loan.
The PIAC expressed worry about the ever growing indebtedness of GNPC and other State institutions such as the Volta River Authority, which was driving the much needed flows to the Petroleum Holding Fund to start the amortisation of one billion loan facility for the gas processing plant.
The committee also reiterated the need for GNPC to desist from the spending of its allocation on non core business areas.
Mr Jantuah charged the public to get copies of the report and read for effective engagement.
The media was also tasked to play its watchdog role more effectively to ensure that oil revenues were better protected so that the country did not lose out like in the mining sector.
Dr John Gatsi, who spoke on level of compliance on the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, said there was still much room for improvement on the part of industry players to realise the content of the Act.