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Pressure mounts on Akufo-Addo to remove energy sector levies

Calls for the Nana Akufo-Addo-led government to review the Energy Sector Levy in a bid to prevent constant hikes in the price of petroleum products have intensified.

Some fuel consumers Joy News has spoken to say they are unhappy with the rapid increases at the pumps, a situation that has also come about as a result of the cedi depreciation.

Although the government has said there will not be an increase in fuel prices in the short to medium term, last week, the prices of some petroleum products went up by 11% for the first pricing window in January 2017.

The price of a litre of petrol and diesel went up between 8 and 11% while a litre of diesel has gone up. A litre of petrol at some major Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) is now selling between 4.8 cedis and 4 cedis 15 pesewas.

However, a marginal increase in the second pricing window (January 16) has intensified the call for the reduction or scrapping of certain components of the Energy Sector Levy.

The latest review has increased petrol prices by some 0.99%.

A 17.5% Special Petroleum Tax as part of the Energy Sector Levy has been cited as the cause of the constant upward reviews in fuel prices.

The John Mahama-led administration introduced the energy levies as part of temporary structural changes to correct challenges the economy was facing.

“When you are doing a correction, there are certain taxes which you use for the correction as you cut expenditure, but they don’t remain; you don’t allow them to remain,” then Finance Minister Seth Terkper had said in defence of the levy.

The Energy Sector Levy was aimed at clearing the debts of some state-owned enterprises in the energy sector, the Volta River Authority (VRA) and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) being the two main state enterprises facing the debt challenges.

However, the Akufo-Addo government campaigned during the 2016 elections on the promise to scrap the levies hence the intensification of the call in the wake of fuel price increases.

General Secretary for Chamber of Petrol Consumers, Duncan Amoah, says the government must remove or reduce the Special Petroleum Tax and other components of the Energy Sector Levy to beat down the price of petroleum products.

“Government should immediately without wasting any further time, remove the SPT [Special Petroleum Tax] and then also other taxes,” he told Joy News.

He said that was the only move that can bring relief to consumers of the petroleum products.



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