Gov’t must Focus on Sealing Revenue Leakages in the Energy Sector

The government has been reminded to focus on sealing revenue leakages in the energy sector rather than imposing more taxes.

An energy expert has said the Ghana government and several others on the continent lost billions of dollars to various illegal activities such as fuel smuggling and tax evasion.

Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC), which has been advocating for social protection policies to the average Ghanaian in the upstream energy sector for some years now, if the call is adhered to, it will help to protect the interest of the average Ghanaian since petroleum issues have a direct impact on everyone.

“Don’t let us get to another cycle of finance ministers going to Parliament to say the government needs revenue, so we are going to pass new taxes, whereas revenue in billions of dollars, per the report you see in my hand which we are yet to discuss, is being lost to the state on a day to day basis”, Executive Secretary of COPEC, Duncan Amoah, said.

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“We will commend Professor Stephen Addai and the board of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) for this diligent job but as to whatever becomes of us collecting whatever we deserve from the foreign oil companies, we should activate them to collect those monies so that the state is not found in need of revenues the trotro driver will not have to come and pay for”.

It has become the norm over the years that government imposes taxes, especially on petroleum to raise revenue for the country.

In the events leading up to the 2016 Parliamentary and Presidential election in Ghana, fuel prices became a topical issue in the country especially when former Finance Minister Mr Seth Tekper presented the 2015 budget to Parliament, and introduced a Special Petroleum Tax (SPT) of 17.5 percent in the 2015 fiscal year.

The then Finance Minister argued that the introduction of the tax was necessary to shore up government revenue as crude oil prices had tumbled below US$30 per barrel at the time as against the government projected price per barrel.

The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) has been at the forefront since last year, calling on the government to ensure it desists from introducing new taxes on petroleum in 2021.

By Adnan Adams Mohammed

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