Gov't Sets Aside GH�795m For Fuel Subsidy

An amount of GH�794,590,650 has been allocated to cover the payment of petroleum subsidies for 2013. The allocation is based on the assumption that, the international price of crude oil will be about $115 per barrel and the exchange rate will be $1 to GH�1.93, at least for the first quarter of 2013. From the second quarter of this year, however, petroleum prices will be adjusted upwards to reflect the changes in the international price of crude oil and exchange rate fluctuations. This was contained in the report of the Finance Committee of Parliament on the 2013 annual estimates of payments from the Consolidated Fund under other government obligations. The report, signed by the Chairman of the committee, Mr James Klutse Avedzi (NDC, Ketu North), was presented to Parliament. The Minister of Finance, Mr Seth Emmanuel Tekper, was in the House to move the motion for the approval of the estimates. A total of GH�14,612,471,227 was approved by the House for other government obligations for the year. The obligations include principal on external debt, interest on external debt, domestic interest, pensions, gratuities, social security, petroleum subsidies, utility subsidies, the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF), the National Health Fund (NHF), the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), the Road Fund, the Petroleum Related Fund and transfer to the Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC). The rest are lifeline consumers of electricity, reserve expenditure vote, tax expenditure, tax refunds and outstanding commitments. Last year, about GH�290 million was budgeted for petroleum subsidies but that amount was far exceeded and by the end of the year more than GH�623 million had been spent. Principal on external debt amounted to GH�2,534,611,096, while interest was GH�556,441,100. Domestic interest for 2012 was GH�1,879,711,000; pensions, GH�390,025,572; gratuities, GH�126,250,000; social security, GH�53,651,800; DACF, GH�406,512,700; NHF, GH�587,236,000; GETFund, GH�362,831,100; Road Fund, GH�195,663,174; subsidies to utility companies, GH� 185,694,429, among others. According to the report, outstanding payment into the NHF as of December 2012 was GH�22.2 million; GETFund, GH�49.3 million, and SSNIT, GH�114 million. On the outlook for 2013, it said GH�1,295,349,743, GH�620,194,557 and GH�2,574,156,000 would be spent on external debt service, representing principal, interest and domestic interest, respectively. An amount of GH�640,529,794 is to be spent on pensions, GH�211,270,317 on gratuities, GH�686,815,164 on social security, GH�227,621,770 on utility subsidies, GH�1,149,286,950 on the DACF, GH�917,858,409 on the NHF, GH�691,457,200 on the GETFund, GH�206,696,665 on the Road Fund, GH�9,793,719 on the Petroleum Related Fund, while GH�369,478,134 is to be transferred to the GNPC. A total of GH�38,795,134 is to be expended on lifeline consumers of electricity, while tax exemptions for the year are to cost the nation GHC1, 071,127,890.