The Public Interest Accountability Committee (PIAC) has asked the Finance Ministry to explain why some undisbursed amounts totaling GHc440 million from 2017 has been added to the 2019 budget expenditure.
PIAC has described as deceptive, a claim by the Ministry that the undisbursed oil revenue in 2017 is part of the Ministry’s GHc1.5 billion budgetary expenditure for this year.
In its supplementary analysis of the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) for the 2018 semi-annual report, PIAC noted that the Ministry confirmed that the GHc440 million outstanding balance from 2017 was not part of approved expenditures for last year, under the Appropriation Act for that year.
This the Committee interpreted as the programmed amount exclusive of the GHc440 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 it explained that because the 2018 budget was presented in September 2017 and the GHc403 million had been approved by Parliament for spending in that year, it could not have been included in the 2018 budget for Parliament’s approval.
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, so in detailing the programmed expenditure totaling GHc1.55 billion for the year, the Ministry included the GHc440 million balance from 2017.
Meanwhile PIAC has maintained that the Ministry’s explanation remains unsatisfactory and misleading, to the extent that it creates an impression that the GHc440 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,” the Committee stated.
PIAC said it is committed to collaborating with the Ministry to properly account for the unspent amount and the outcome made public in its subsequent reports.
The Committee has urged the Ministry to ensure that going forward, its programmes and actual expenditure continue to comply with Section 21(4) of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA), which requires 70 percent expenditure on public investments and 30 percent on goods and services.
By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe