The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) made a net profit of GH¢654,904 in 2009.
That represented a 23.2 per cent decrease on its 2008 profit of GH¢853,095.
The company's total income went up by 24.1 per cent as a result of accrued profits on interests on short-term investments, service fees on oil exploration companies, differences in currency trans-station, exploration levy and permit fees.
These were captured in the Report of the Auditor-General on the Public Accounts of Ghana - Public Boards, Corporations and Other Statutory Institutions for the year ended December 31, 2011.
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The contents of the report are currently being discussed by members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament at its ongoing public hearing.
Officials of the GNPC, including the Chief Executive Officer, Nana Boakye Asafu-Adjaye, and the Director of Finance, Mrs Comfort Ani-Adjei, who were supported by a deputy minister of Energy and Petroleum, Mr Benjamin Dagadu, were at the sitting to answer questions from members of the PAC.
The report also indicated that the total expenditure for the year under review increased by 29.4 per cent, from GH¢7,846,576 in the previous year to GH¢10,139,309, and attributed the situation to increases in administrative and general expenses.
According to the report, the increase in total expenditure accounted for the reduction in the net profit for the year.
The Auditor-General, however, queried the GNPC for not embossing its purchased fixed assets with the corporation's identification marks in the last two years.
Answering questions from members of the PAC, Mrs Ani-Adjei said even though the company erred in not embossing its identification marks on some of its purchased fixed assets, the situation had been rectified.
Co-ordinator of UPPF
Led by its Coordinator, Mr Jacob Amoah, officials of the Unified Petroleum Price Fund (UPPF) also appeared before the committee.
Mr Amoah explained to the committee that the fund existed to ensure that prices of petroleum products were equal throughout the country, in addition to ensuring that petroleum products were distributed to filling stations.
He told the committee that the net profit of the fund decreased from GH¢28 million in 2008 to GH¢17.4 million in 2009 and attributed the situation to the increase in the cost of freight of petroleum products by transporters.
On whether the prices of liquified petroleum gas (LPG) were uniform throughout the country, Mr Amoah said as far as the fund was concerned, the prices were uniform.
"If there are differences, then that is illegal," he said, adding that nationwide inspections were conducted by its monitoring teams to ensure that the right thing was done.
He told the committee that efforts were being made to engage all stakeholders to curb the smuggling of petroleum products, while the UPPF was also working with the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) to ensure safety at the various filling stations.
Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation
Answering a question from the MP for Atwima- Nwabiagya, Mr Benito Owusu-Bio, on the core mandate of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation (BOST) Limited, Mr Amoah said while BOST acted as a warehouse, the UPPF distributed fuel products to fillings stations.
But the MP insisted that BOST was set up to act as a strategic national reserve.
Deputy Minister of Energy and Petroleum
Mr Dagadu explained to the committee that the country was currently unable to use BOST as a strategic source, since the reserve was used up during the power outages that occurred in 2007.
He said since then, the ministry had not been able to recapitalise BOST to restock the depleted fuel reserves.
Before the commencement of the sitting, the Vice-Chairman of the PAC, Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, who chaired the sitting in the absence of its Chairman, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, had reminded the officials invited to beware of the crime of perjury.
He added that those who appeared before the committee had the right to counsel and advised them, after they had sworn the oath, to exercise caution in order not to commit an offence for lying under oath.
By Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah/Daily Graphic/Ghana