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Petroleum auditor and international trade expert applauds SML-GRA revenue assurance monitoring contract

Local News

4 months ago
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A petroleum Auditor and international trade expert, Yaw Ativo,  has pointed out that, the controversy surrounding the contract between Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and Strategic Mobilization Ghana Limited (SML)  is due to disinformation.

Speaking on Accra-based Peace FM’s Krokrokoo Morning Show yesterday, Mr Ativor said Manasseh Awuni Azuri and the Fourth Estate did a very lousy job adding that “ you cannot pick one page out of a 40-page document to mislead or hoodwink the public into thinking that, the said contract was fraud.

According to the Petroleum Auditor, agreement between the two parties is purely a performance-based contract and there was no way the country could be shortchanged contrary to the claims The Fourth Estate and other critics allege.

It must be noted that, Strategic Mobilization Ghana Limited (SML) was contracted  to monitor Upstream Petroleum Production and to Audit the value chain of Minerals and Metal Resources.The new and consolidated contract which is for a term of five (5) years, was agreed upon based on the performance of SML in monitoring revenue assurance in the petroleum downstream sector and the provision of instant reconciliation of real-time data in the sector.

GRA is confident that, with the introduction of various initiatives including technology and revenue assurance measures such as the SML contract, GRA will continue to see a significant increase in revenue such as the 50% year-on-year increase in revenue this year.

GRA further says it will continue to explore more innovative and efficient methods of blocking leakages and increasing compliance to enable us attain a national Tax to GDP ratio of over 18%.

However, due to bad press and propaganda in some quarters, the president of the Republic, Nana Akufo Addo appointed KPMG, a reputable Audit, Tax, and Advisory Services firm, to conduct an immediate audit into the transaction between the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and Strategic Mobilization Ghana Ltd (SML).

The Terms of Reference of the Audit are; to conduct an audit to ascertain the rationale or needs assessment performed before the contract approval by GRA, and assess how the arrangement aligns with specific needs.

The Audit is also to assess the appropriateness of the contracting methodology, verifying compliance with legal standards and industry best practices in the procurement process for the selection of SML.

Mr Ativor believes that the SML contract is above board and was optimistic that the audit being done by KPMG will eventually give the green light to the contract adding that, SML  has had many engagements with relevant stakeholders like the NPA and that it would be wrong for anyone to suggest that the contract is fraudulent and inimical to the country. Indeed he emphacises that, NPA has been a cooperative partner of SML in the execution of its contractual mandate. He mentions  letters he has sighted that indicate a good working relationship between the NPA and SML.

He also notes that, the public must be aware that, the work of SML is subsequent to a GRA Needs Assessment Report 2020. GRA had a need for revenue assurance and sought the services of an entity that has the capacity to deliver.

Meanwhile, the GRA wants President Akufo-Addo to allow SML to continue with its work of improving revenue assurance until the government concludes with investigations.

In a letter to the President signed by its Commissioner-General, Rev. Dr. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, on January 16, 2024, said the company has expressed concerns about the challenges that it’s likely to face in its operations and therefore pleaded with the President for the company to continue with operations.

“Having carefully reviewed the concern and based on our own understanding of the contracts and the deliverable, we are of the opinion that the system that has been installed to enhance revenue assurance, for control purposes, and also to aid with the ongoing investigation, could with your kindest permission be allowed to run.
The system will continue to record data in real-time until your further directive after the conclusion of the investigation.”

“We can confirm that the suspension to all intents and purposes will lead to revenue losses following the suspension. There has been a huge gap in the control system and also the update of the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) accounts.

We, however, want to assure you that the contract remains suspended and no payment would be made on the contract until your directive”,the GRA said in its letter.

Mr Ativor further reiterated to all Ghanaians that, the service provider according to the contract is paid based on additional revenue its work has helped to generate.

source: Theannouncergh.com