Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Global oil price fall could hurt Ghana infrastructure plans -president

Oil producer Ghana could struggle to pursue its plans to build schools, roads and hospitals if global oil prices fall further.
Global oil price fall could hurt Ghana infrastructure plans. PHOTO:

This is according to President John Mahama in comments emailed to Reuters on Tuesday.

Petroleum exports from Ghana's offshore Jubilee field are a big source of government revenue. As in other economies heavily dependent on oil income, the near halving of benchmark crude prices since June has undermined even conservative budget assumptions.

Ghana, which exports roughly 105,000 barrels of oil per day, had already begun talks with the International Monetary Fund in August on how to steady its economy after rapid development and surging government spending drove up inflation.

Mahama, whose post comes up for election in 2016, told his advisory council the oil price fall could further imperil government development plans.

"If it continues low, it will affect us on the revenue side in respect of how much money comes into the annual budget funding amount which we use for capital expenditure under the budget," Mahama said on Monday.

Ghana has a stabilisation fund to back up budget financing if oil revenue falls short of forecasts, but the government needs parliamentary approval to draw on the fund.

The government projected in its 2015 budget it would earn 4.2 billion cedis (1.3 billion US dollars) in oil revenues, or 3.1 per cent of gross domestic product.

Ghana also imports oil but the National Petroleum Authority is reluctant to lower pump prices, saying it would use any savings to offset debt owed to bulk suppliers.

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