Saturday, November 28, 2020

NPF in urgent need of P600 million

The National Petroleum Fund (NPF) will need atleast just over half a billion Pula more to meet its statutory obligations going forward.

The shocking revelation was made by the former Permanent Secretary at the ministry of Mineral resources, green technology and energy security, Obolokile Obakeng on Monday morning.

Dr Obakeng appeared before the special parliamentary committee ÔÇô the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) which is currently in a special session following a motion by Special Elected Member of Parliament (MP) Mephato Reatile in December 2017 which called on the committee to meet as a matter of urgency and review the NPF with the assistance of the Auditor General.

Following his second appearance before the PAC on Monday, Dr Obakeng told the committee members that following the transfer of atleast P230 million to the Directorate of Intelligence Service (DIS) last year, there is need for extra money to caution petroleum companies from international price fluctuation of fuel prices.

The fund, which was established as a statutory buffer provide subsidised pump prices for the economy and is said to be currently sitting at around P187 million.

Whilst Dr Obakeng said he wrote to the Director of DIS ÔÇô Isaac Kgosi in February 2018 to “bring back the money”, such has not yet seen the light of the day.

Dr Obakeng was referring to the P230 million that was allegedly transferred by his former ministry to Khulaco Pty Ltd, a company linked to the DIS that ultimately passed

On Monday, Dr Obakeng told PAC following his letter to Kgosi, the chief spy then wrote back and told him (Dr Obakeng) that he is still in negotiations with the ministry of Finance regarding the much needed money.

Dr Obakeng admitted to the PAC on Monday that as it stands, the NPF, which the government uses to pays petroleum retailers the difference between the administered and prevailing fuel prices had come under pressure from rising crude oil prices.

“If the situation is not managed within a certain time, it could spiral into something else”, Dr Obakeng said.

In December 2014 when there was an oversupply of oil in the global market, the government responded with recurring decreases in the retail price for petrol and diesel. The following year government further adjusted the retail price for petrol and diesel downwards three times. However market conditions have since changed with tables now turning, and prices going up forcing the government to also increase fuel prices.

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