Parliament is expected to rise for its first meeting of the second session this Friday, March 28, with the chief agendum for the week being the determination of formulae for the statutory funds namely, the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF), the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETfund) and the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIS) for the year.
Unfortunately, these statutory funds, which ought to be paid timely by the government for the intended purposes, have been in arrears basically due to the economic challenges currently facing the country.
The Committee of the Whole will meet today to discuss the formulae before motions on the formulae will be moved tomorrow.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will also continue with its public hearing from today before parliament finally rises.
The committee will scrutinise the performance audit report of the Auditor-General on the management of the Petroleum Funds from May, 2011 to December, 2012.
Officials of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and the Ministry of Energy are expected to appear today to defend the audit.
Meanwhile parliament on Friday ratified a petroleum agreement between the Government of Ghana, GNPC, Carmac Energy (Ghana), a subsidiary of Camac Energy in the US, Base Energy Ghana Limited, a wholly-Ghanaian oil company and the GNPC Exploration and Production Company Limited for oil exploration.
Under the contract, the above-mentioned companies are to explore oil for commercial purposes in the Expanded Shallow Water Tano Block offshore the Republic of Ghana.
The agreement is for a total of 25 years if commercial discovery is made but the agreement will expire after seven years if no commercial discovery is made within that period by those oil companies.
Article 4 of the agreement commits the contractor to a minimum exploration programme in three phases comprising the initial exploration period of two years, one and half years for the first extension period and another one and half years or two and half years for the second extension.