NDC could steal oil cash – Sir John

The General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, popularly known as Sir John, has expressed concern about the oil revenue to be accrued to Ghana as the Mills-led NDC administration seems to be contradicting declarations made by Tullow Oil.

In an interview with The Statesman in Tamale , Sir John expressed concern that Government may be playing a smart one on Ghanaians, urging the Presidency to explain why Government is projecting oil production figures lower than that of Tullow Oil, the producer.
In the 2011 Budget statement read on the 18th of November, 2010, the Minister of Finance Dr. Kwabena Duffuor failed to clarify how much oil will be produced in 2011, and at what average price. Tullow Oil has indicated that it will produce 120,000bpd but figures put out by Government points to oil production levels of just over 60,000bpd for 2011.

According to Sir John, Government is projecting 2011 oil revenues at a modest $404mn (GH¢584mn), implying either only an average 2011 daily production from the Jubilee Fields of just over 60,000bpd or average oil prices of $40 for 2011.

“By forecasting that the Government expects to get over GH¢500mn (~$404mn) will seem to imply that contrary to declarations by Tullow, either oil production from the Jubilee Fields will be at about half of the projected daily numbers (of 40,000bpd initially, peaking at 120,000bpd by midyear 2011), or oil price assumptions for 2011 will be in the neighborhood of $40/barrel”, Sir John said.

“Either cannot be correct in light of currently available data. Tullow’s recent public statements assure Ghana that it will start production in December at probably 40,000bpd to 50,000 bpd and ramp up to about 120,000bpd by mid-year 2011; even at $40/barrel that should generate over $1.7bn – about slightly less than half of which should go to the government. At $60/barrel, about $2.5bn ought to be generated, and at $80/ barrel average prices over $3bn should be generated, each with slightly less than half going to Ghana.

Sir John argues, “Why the difference? Who takes the difference? Is it meant for some people’s pocket?”

He said, “It raises suspicion that Government may be seeking to siphon the difference if they don’t come out quickly to explain. Already Moses Asaga chairman of select committee on energy has come to say that by the time NPP left office 80% of the work on policy and legal framework for petroleum was done. So how come it has taken NDC more than 2yrs and yet the 20% is still not complete. And just when we are a couple of weeks before striking oil Government has rushed a bill to parliament on petroleum?”

Sir John, who was attending an NPP youth conference in Tamale has charged Ghana’s youth to be “alert an resist all attempts by this NDC government to use its one term of four years to mortgage your future.”They are selling off all future oil revenues to secure dubious and inflated loans. We must stop them from destroying your future we must stop them from using your future oil to secure corrupt loans today.”

Sir John said, “If NDC had good intentions for the oil they would have by now put all the necessary policies in place. They don’t mean well. They are afraid of transparency. Why so? Is it not obvious that they want to be smart with the oil money? Let us resist them.”

“I’m sure they will come back to explain it away. Like they did with Armajaro; like they did with the Muntaka chinchinga affair; like they did with the 1.6 million ghost jobs. We have been burdened for another two years with a Government of liars, hypocrites and incompetent people who have no idea how to run a country unless to run it down. But we are not prepared to let them go down with the future of the youth”, he added.

Source: Statesman/Ghana

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