In the context of a struggling economy; high debt and high corruption, analysts are worried about the level of greed that directs revenue efforts to the poor. The Minister of Finance is hell bent on taking e-levy from the wallets of citizens but remains adamant to plugging leakages that benefits him and his family, led by the president.
In a series of publications, The Herald, has pointed out the obvious illegality, championed by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, and friends at GNPC and Ministry of Energy, to use tax revenue to acquire petroleum assets and hide it from the people.
The 7percent interest in Jubilee and TEN fields was acquired by GNPC in October 2021. This interest is estimated to generate about $300 million, about GHS 1.9 billion, a year as cash flow. In good conscience, any well-meaning analyst would expect the Minister of Finance to plug these numbers into the fiscal table to shore up receivables of the country. This could prop the primary balance and shape market perception of the country.
However, the Finance Minister feels comfortable to divert the cash flow to a Cayman Islands registered entity, Jubilee Oil Holdings. Consequently, he diverted the tax revenue of about $170 million to enable GNPC to front the transaction which handed the 7% interest in Jubilee and TEN to Jubilee Oil Holdings.
One insider expresses his shock at the decision, “I sat amazed as they were comfortable diverting the interest from the state. This money is instant cash from producing fields and more than what can practically come from the overestimated E-levy, why then is someone motivated to take that away and tax the poor people”.
It appears the strategy of the Akufo-Addo family on the transaction is working perfectly. They have managed to quiet the media space and prevented further communication by government officials. The Deputy Minister of Energy Egyapa Mercer, who stepped in to do initial damage control, has recoiled from the fray at the instructions of his masters.
Our sources also point to efforts to get the Minority in Parliament to remain quiet about the transaction. Ken Ofori Atta is working to prevent being called to answer questions on the floor of parliament on how he diverted Tax revenue without parliamentary approval.
On the 14th of January 2022, the minority issued a statement to indicate commitment to hold GNPC and the government accountable on the subject.
However, it has been three weeks without further action. At the same time Jubilee Oil Holdings, continue to lift oil and advance the interests of Akufo-Addo family.
Already, industry watchers are losing hope that the minority can save the situation. Another individual close to the Akufo-Addo family reacts, “with the amount of cash available to manage people who understand the situation, I doubt anything will come out of the minority. Sacrificing one month receivable (about $25 million) to get people mute has been on the table. The usual targets are MPs, the media and CSOs”.
This country is unlikely to reverse the economic doldrums with the high appetite of the Akufo-Addo family to channel needed resources for family gains. This is the underlying realism the Ken-led ministry is averse to any invitation to IMF for assistance. The entry of the IMF will hurt many deals that are yet to mature in the oil and Gas, insurance and financial sectors of the economy.
The Finance Minister, has set up a gang of communicators to Inform Ghanaians that he does not need to go to the IMF.
However, he deliberately avoids telling the people that he has been going to the IMF since the COVID started.
The IMF has given Ghana $2 billion in two year. In 2020 Ghana got $ 1 billion Rapid Credit Facility (RCF). In 2021 Ghana got $ 1 billion New Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), which Ken Ofori-Atta did not blink before accessing it. The conflict of his interests against the national interest is what is preventing him from getting support from the IMF in managing the economy.
Ken Ofori Atta knows that he will not be around to pay the $2 billion, which is interest free with a 5 years grace period. Neither can he access further funds without a Programme. Therefore his new tactic to bastardize the fund.
Meanwhile, the overaged KK Sarpong, remains at post after his contract expired on January 27, 2022.
The Herald has sighted a draft letter written by KK Sarpong and Gabby to grant him three months extension.
The board chairman, has been under pressure from other party folks interested in GNPC job not to sign the extension.
But the President is likely going to yield to the wishes of Gabby to compensate KK Sarpong and ensure that outstanding deals are concluded within the timeframe.
Even though, Gabby has agreed to a compromise to allow Opoku Danquah to succeed KK Sarpong, he will prefer that KK finish the outstanding deal before he exists, as a risk mitigation measure.