The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has explained that an amount of GH¢403.7million from the Annual Budget Funding (ABFA) purportedly unutilized in 2017 was transferred into the Treasury Main Account.
“The ABFA received in 2017 was GH¢733.2 million. Of this amount, GH¢329.5 million was used to pay for projects. An amount of GH¢403.7 million was transferred into the Treasury Main Account in 2017,” a press statement issued by the Ministry in Accra yesterday said.
The statement signed by the Chief Director appeared to be a response to concerns from the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) over the whereabouts of the said GH¢403.7million in its 2017 report.
The Ministry said the transfer was in line with the provisions of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) in Section 46 of the Public Financial Management Act (PFMA), 2016, (Act 921), that required that all government balances should be part of TSA.
The statement copied to Business Finder was however addressed to The Ghanaian Times newspaper which it said had published the story in the Chairman of PIAC made the assertions.
“In a statement attributed to the Coordinator of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) the Ghanaian Times asserts that the Ministry of Finance could not account for GH¢403.7 million of ABFA funds. This assertion is inaccurate,” the release said.
The Ministry explained that the rationale was to avoid government cash balances sitting in various accounts whiles government borrows at expensive rates to finance important government expenditures.
Government is committed, in light of the PRMA, to apply these funds to expenditures permitted under the law and can confirm that ABFA funds have not been wrongly applied.
PIAC’s report on the matter
PIAC in its recommendations requested that all unspent ABFA allocations in a particular financial year be returned to the Petroleum Holding Fund (PHF)
“The fact that ABFA allocation was not fully utilised even though the entire amount had been budgeted for suggests budget non-compliance on the part of the MoF. Parliament should take steps to ensure that the Minister complies with the budget as approved,” the report recommended.
The Bank of Ghana made six transfers from the PHF to the Ministry of Finance in respect of the ABFA in 2017, totalling US$169,458,674.13 (GH₵736,030,484.74)
According to PIAC, from its 2016 report, an amount of GH¢77.73 million was unutilised from the ABFA allocation of that year. Its findings were that in 2017, a further GH¢403.74 million was unutilised, bringing total amount brought forward to 2018, to GH¢481.47 million.