We’re not spending more on CSR than operational budget – GNPC

The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, GNPC has refuted claims that it will be spending more on corporate social investment projects in 2019 than its operational mandate of exploration and production of petroleum.

According to the corporation, the claim is outrageous.

The General Manager of GNPC Foundation’s Sustainability Development, Dr. Kwame Baah Nuakoh, argued that GNPC’s CSR budget represents less than five percent of its operational budget for 2019 which is over 800 million dollars.

Dr. Baah Nuakoh who was speaking to Citi News at Aburi during the review of the 2016 report of the Ghana Extractive Industry and Transparency Initiative which questioned GNPC’s Quasi-Expenses, said GNPC’s budget undergoes various scrutiny including Parliament, therefore urged critics of GNPC to rather question Parliament on such approvals.

The GNPC Foundation has in recent times intensified its Corporate Social Investment projects.

The Foundation is constructing 100 boreholes for 100 communities in the Western, Volta and the Northern regions. It is also putting up a lot of educational projects in deprived communities.

Ghanaians got alarmed when the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) complained that GNPC plans to spend $43.05 million on corporate social responsibility for the 2019 operational year.

According to ACEP, GNPC is spending $20 million on its operations in the Voltain Basin which is less than 50% of the amount it is blowing on CSR programmes.

“The Corporation plans to spend US$ 43.05 million on corporate social responsibility for the 2019 operational year,” ACEP noted in an analysis of GNPC’s budget.

Reacting to this on the sidelines of a workshop to review the 2016 report of the Ghana Extractive Industry and Transparency Initiative that raised concerns with GNPC’s Quasi-expenses, Dr. Kwame Baah Nuakoh said the impression being created about its CSR expenses as against its operational expenses is false.

“The 40 something million dollars you saw for CSR is less than five per cent of the total budget of GNPC. I don’t know where this concept of GNPC spending more on CSR than its core operation is coming from. Somebody took just one aspect of the things we want to do in Voltain basin and said that if you compare that to the CSR, but that is not GNPC’s operational budget.”

Dr. Nuakoh insisted that the operational budget of GNPC goes beyond how much they are spending in the Voltain basin “because we have the money given to us to pay for the equity cost in the various fields. GNPC’s budget, I am sure if you look at the document, it goes beyond 800 million dollars.”

Dr. Baah Nuakoh while justifying the relevance of GNPC’s CSR projects as against its core mandate, further said its work programme is subjected to series of scrutiny including Parliament.

“We want to avoid the dangers of conflict which is a natural sequence when natural resources are being exploited from a particular area. History has told us that when you extract natural resources from a particular location and all monies go to the consolidated fund, it takes a longer time before some of that money trickles down to the people. So the organization that is involved in that should be given the resources to make immediate and direct interventions. And that is why I disagree with those who think that engaging in corporate social investment is not a core mandate of GNPC,” he said.

“GNPC is one of the most regulated in terms of reporting requirements, from the Petroleum Commission to the State Enterprises Commission to various committees of parliament including, Mines and Energy Committee, the Finance Committee and even PIAC. GNPC’s work programme has to go through all these processes for it to be approved.”

Dr. Nuakoh said GNPC cannot spend any money it has not been approved.

“I keep on saying that the quest for transparency has to begin with the people’s representatives. If people are concerned about what money they are approving for GNPC, they should be able to take it to their responsibilities.”