Yaw Owusu Addo
The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) says the use of the Heritage Fund would be suicidal since it was set up to provide an endowment to support future generations.
In a press release issued recently in Accra signed by Yaw Owusu Addo, Chairman, Communications Sub-Committee of PIAC, it kicked against the use of the Ghana Heritage Fund (GHF) as suggested by Johnson Asiedu Nketia, General Secretary, National Democratic Congress (NDC) recently.
It noted that the withdrawal or otherwise from the fund is governed by Sections 13 and 20 of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 2011 (Act 815).
Such provisions, he said, only allowed withdrawal from the heritage fund when the petroleum reserves of the country have been depleted and the Ghana Petroleum Funds, which are made up of the heritage fund and the Ghana Stabilization Fund have been consolidated into the Ghana Petroleum Wealth Fund.
‘This means that so far as the Petroleum Revenue Management Act is concerned, the Ghana Heritage Fund can only be accessed when the petroleum reserves of the country are completely depleted,’ Owusu Addo said.
He said, ‘It is important to note that in addition to the Heritage Fund, there exists also the Ghana Stabilization Fund (GSF) which according to Section 9 (2) of Act 815 could be resorted to during periods of unanticipated petroleum revenue shortfalls or oil price slumps on the world market’.
Owusu Addo said this funding option is available to the government to secure further budgetary support from the oil revenues accruing to the country in any particular year.
He said under the present circumstances, the Ghana Stabilization Fund may be accessed upon application to Parliament provided the relevant provisions in Section 12 of Act 815 were met.
He noted that the Heritage Fund, as a matter of fact, in the wisdom of the drafters of the law regulating petroleum revenues, was not meant to be touched and used by the present generation of Ghanaians.
‘In the view of the PIAC, the investment of the Heritage Fund in low-yielding instruments is for a good reason.
The idea is to invest the fund in low-interest earning but safe investments for the long-term instead of high-yielding, gilt-edged securities which invariably are volatile.
‘The purpose therefore is to ensure that the money put aside for ‘generations yet unborn’ maintains stability in value for the long-term,’ he said.
By Cephas Larbi
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