Minister of Energy and Petroleum Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah has commented on the 2015 budget presented to Parliament by the Finance Minister, describing it as a budget which seeks to lay strong foundation for the country’s energy sector institutions to enable them borrow from the international market on their own balance sheet.
He said as the country enters its gas era and with about 200 billion of gas reserves, it is imperative for government to strengthen institutions such as the GNPC, VRA and ECG to contract loans and enter other agreements on their own to improve infrastructure and operations, having identified government’s support over the years as inadequate.
Hon Armah-Kofi Buah noted other measure taken by government to allow energy sector agencies to play significant role in resolving the country’s power challenges in the 2015 budget such as the proposed lending agreement which requires state institutions to pay loans which are contracted for profit earning purposes on their own without government support.
“This budget also positions GNPC and other institutions in the energy sector institutions to be able to provide the security required for the TEN (Tweneboa-Enyenra-Ntomme) and OCTP (Offshore Cape Three Points) projects which promise not only oil but huge volumes of gas to ensure long term energy security. He further added.
The Minister dispelled arguments that granting financial freedom to these institutions to borrow on their own balance sheet can result in profligate expenditure which can create problems for government in the future, explaining that whatever agreement entered into will be subjected to annual parliamentary review and scrutiny.
On the meager of the Ghana Gas Company and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation as announced by the Finance Minister during the 2015 budget reading, the Energy and Petroleum Minister said it is critical to Ghana’s long term national energy security.
He added that the realignment of GNPC and Ghana Gas will make it possible to enhance a more integrated management and continue financing of projects in the oil and gas enclave as the country prepares for its first commercial gas production.
Hon Buah, in reiterating what the Finance Minister said, emphasized that bringing the two institutions together will make it possible to ease the conditions that investors impose for the national gas aggregator to start financing projects in the oil-and-gas enclave as soon as possible.
The Minister further revealed that Government is in the process of appointing a transaction advisor for the GNPC/GNGC meager and also request them to advise government on a further consolidation involving the Tema Oil Refinery and the Bulk Oil Storage and Transport.