The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) has called on government to ensure it desists from introducing new taxes on petroleum next year.
Speaking to Citi Business News, Executive Secretary of COPEC, Duncan Amoah said, whichever party that wins the upcoming elections should desist from the act as it greatly inconveniences the average Ghanaian.
He stated that, “it is an election year and so government often goes soft on taxes during electioneering periods. If you look at this year, we have rather seen taxes eased downwards. Then it begs the question as to whether government still needs revenue. You and I have seen these games over and over various election periods. Right after the election, the same government comes back to tell you they need revenue, then you find a situation where the lowest of the hanging fruits; petroleum taxes is enforced.”
He added that, “The challenge we have at COPEC is that once you increase taxes on petroleum, you’ve increased baseline on livelihoods. Food cost, transportation, everything goes up when you increase taxes on petroleum. Unfortunately, because that is quite easy to collect, our finance ministers are often in a hurry to slap new and additional taxes on Ghanaians whenever the issue of revenue comes to the table. We are hoping that in as much as government would need revenue post-election period, our fuel taxes which is already neck-breaking will not be increased further.”
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 government projected price per barrel.
In recent times, even though some taxes such as the Special Petroleum Tax (SPT) on fuels saw a downward review in 2017, there has been some upward review of taxes and levies such as the Road Fund Levy (RFL), the Energy Debt Recovery Levy (EDRL), and the Price Stabilization and Recovery Levy (PSRL) in August 2019; as well as the recent upward adjustment in the BOST Margin.