By Eugene Davis
Government through the Ministry of Finance has laid a Supplementary Appropriation Bill, 2020 before Parliament.
The Bill seeks to withdraw sums of money from the Consolidated Fund, through government expenditure for the financial year ending December, 2019.
The Bill, which has been read for the first time, has subsequently been referred to the Finance Committee for consideration and report by the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye.
Government last year, sought for approval of Parliament for GH¢ 6 billion to be spent from the consolidated fund to address challenges in the energy sector. This was part of the 2019 supplementary estimates which was not utilised in accordance with Articles 179 (8) and 179 (9) of the constitution.
Ghana’s energy sector has been challenging, with government renegotiating existing power-purchasing agreements which require that the country pays for power it does not consume.
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, indicated that the country pays over half a billion U.S. dollars or over GH¢2.5 billion annually for power generation capacity that is not needed.
The wasteful expenditure in the energy sector are one of the main causes of increases in end-user electricity tariffs; making Ghana uncompetitive for manufacturing.
Furthermore, government in its quest to resolve the energy sector debt set up the Energy Sector Levies Act PLC (E.S.L.A PLC) in 2017, which primarily is authorised to carry on the following business among others: to issue debt securities backed by receivables collected under the Energy Sector Levies Act, assigned to the Company by the Government of Ghana acting through the Ministry of Finance for the purpose of servicing the debt securities and related expenses.
Also to enter into such other arrangements and transactions in relation to the issuance of debt securities as may be necessary or required by the Government of Ghana acting through the Ministry of Finance.
ESLA PLC in December last year opened a 12 year GHC denominated bond which represents Tranche E4 under the GHC 10 billion bond programme.