Former Minister for Energy, Hon. Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah has called on government to listen to the pains and cries of Ghanaians and scrap the Special Petroleum Tax.
The purpose of the tax, according to him, has already been achieved and therefore no longer important to include it in the huge bill at the pumps.
Hon. Armah-Kofi Buah argued that the tax burden on Ghanaians in the price build of petroleum products is close to 49%, which is close to GH¢21.00 per gallon in taxes.
The former Minister observed that before the Akufo-Addo-Bawumia led New Patriotic Party (NPP) came to power, they had talked and made lot of noise that when they come to power, they will scrap the Special Petroleum Tax and also struck out the Energy Sector Levy, which have not happened yet.
According to him, there is history behind the imposition of the Special Petroleum Tax.
“In 2015 the Minister of Finance came to this Parliament with a budget that had made a projection of about US$60.00 per barrel for crude oil. However, immediately after the budget, crude oil prices tumbled on the world market, sending the prices to as low as $30 per barrel.”
He averred that the Minister in the mid-year budget review to Parliament proposed some emergency measures to fill the gap created by the fall in prices of crude oil.
According Hon. Kofi Buah, the proposal culminated in the imposition of the special petroleum tax, which was a specific tax with the sole purpose and objective of filling the budget gap within that period when the prices were very low.
The then government, he said, needed to make sure that the gap was filled and when that was done and the prices recovered, the special tax would have been scrapped.
The former Minister noted that the Special Petroleum Tax, which was 17.5% of the petroleum products price build up was reduced in the 2017 budget by 2% and is now 15.5%.
He stressed that the price of a gallon of petrol today has an amount of GH¢2.39 as special petroleum tax. “This is a huge burden on Ghanaians,” he said.
He pointed out that there is also the Special Stabilization Levy, which is also a specific tax, the purpose of which is for government to use to cushion Ghanaians when prices of crude oil prices shoot up.
According to him, the special stabilization levy contributes about GH¢30 million every monthly and questioned how government has applied that levy to cushion the Ghanaian in this trying time.
He noted that crude oil prices are hovering about 60 dollars per barrel and stressed that government must listen to the call of Ghanaians and scrap the special petroleum tax and ease their burdens.
By Osumanu Al-Hassanfirstname.lastname@example.org