The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers-Ghana (COPEC-Ghana) has called on the government to reverse and withdraw the recent tax increment on petroleum products.
The call is in reaction to the news that some leading oil marketing companies (OMCs) across the country have increased pump prices of fuel due to the over-burdening taxes placed on petroleum products.
Pump prices have shot up from GH¢5.19 per litre to about GH¢5.39 per litre, representing a 3.7 per cent jump in prices at the pumps.
“Our call is to make way for further dialogue on the current fuel price build-up, with the view to reversing the recent unfortunate trend of persistent increases, as it is serving no good, aside from putting lives and businesses across on the edge,” the advocacy group said in a statement signed by its Executive Secretary, Mr Duncan Amoah.
The chamber noted that several calls had been made to the government over the past year to review the over-burdening taxes on the petroleum price build-up, but no concrete steps had been taken in that regard.
It said the tax increment was “ill-timed, ill-advised and insensitive, as its repercussions on the country and the people will far outweigh any benefits anticipated thereof”, stressing that the government had used the excuse of not having control over pump prices due to the price deregulation programme currently in force to act on the concerns raised.
COPEC further said in a rather bizarre twist, “the Finance Minister, contrary to public expectation of a downward review of the crippling taxes on the petroleum price build-up, has rather, through the 2019 mid-year budget review, increased the already choking levels of fuel taxes, leading to these current increases Ghanaians are seeing at the pumps now”.
“We would want to appeal to the government to be sensitive to the plight of the Ghanaian, especially drivers and all other petroleum users, as most are already complaining gravely about the already high incidence of fuel prices across pumps,” it said.
The advocacy group further called on the government to check the rate of fuel smuggling, as that forced the government to generate revenue by increasing taxes.
“Fuel smuggling accounts for over 17 per cent of all fuel sold within the country currently and what this implies is that the government loses close to one-fifth of all petroleum taxes and revenues, as may be due it, to this fuel smuggling cartel.
“Ghana is known to have lost in excess of over GH¢4 billion over the last three years, thereby rendering the argument of the government seeking to rake in some GH¢400 million for the rest of 2019 and GH¢1.4 billion for the whole of 2020, with the increment in taxes, completely unjustifiable.
“While pump prices in Ghana continue to be higher than the prices in most countries across the sub-region, the attendant problems fuel price increments bring cannot be overstated, aside from the general hardships and economic downturns such increases portend for everything and everyone within the country,” it added.
Although many OMCs have increased their fuel prices, checks at a few service stations show that they were yet to increase their prices.
Most of the companies the Daily Graphic contacted said they would effect the increment this week after they have confirmed the numbers to reflect the recent tax measures.