2021 budget: 30 pesewas levy on fuel is a lazy approach – Duncan Amoah

The Chamber of Petroleum Consumer (COPEC) has described the government’s proposed 30 pesewas per litre levy under the Energy Sector Levies Act (ESLA) as a lazy approach to addressing challenges especially within the energy sector.

According to its Executive Secretary, Duncan Amoah, such development is insensitive especially as many Ghanaians and their businesses are still reeling from the impact of COVID-19 and there has already been about 11% hike in fuel prices over the past two months.

“This is quite predictable, but again one would have expected that there would be some sensitivity to the times and the fact that Ghanaians and businesses are still reeling under the COVID-19 effect,” he said in a Citi News interview.

Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and caretaker Minister for Finance while delivering the 2021 budget statement in parliament announced the tax proposals on fuel; 10 pesewas per litre for diesel and petrol as Sanitation and Pollution Levy (SPL) and 20 pesewas per litre of petrol and diesel to be used as Energy Sector Recovery Levy to cover charges on the State for excess capacity of power.

“To provide the requisite resources to address these challenges and fund these activities, Government is proposing a Sanitation and Pollution Levy (SPL) of 10 pesewas on the price per litre of petrol/diesel under the Energy Sector Levies Act (ESLA),” the minister said.

“Mr. Speaker, it has become very necessary for Government to consider a review of the energy sector levies. The Energy Sector Recovery Levy of 20 pesewas per litre on petrol/diesel under the ESLA is hereby submitted to this House for approval,” he added.

But Duncan Amoah has challenged the move, urging the government to consider renegotiating the country’s energy deals and stop the frequent payments for excess capacity rather than levy Ghanaians to take care of those charges.

“It looks like the more we are taxed, the more these debts balloon. Whoever is negligent is never punished, those who are not negligent end up being asked to contribute a lot more. This is becoming a disaster for Ghanaians especially in view of the fact that we have seen these sorts of increments. Within the past two months alone, Ghanaians are already complaining about over 11% fuel price adjustments and yet the best we can do to these people who are already complaining and reeling from COVID-19 pressures is to add an additional 5.7% in statutory taxes to them.

“If you don’t need that excess capacity, go and renegotiate it so that the Ghanaian is not overburdened…. [They must] find ingenious solutions… This is laziness, and it is quite appalling… This is clearly not the way to go,” he said.

Duncan Amoah further urged Parliament not to approve of the new levies.