Presidency, GRA, national security fingered in GHC1.88bn petroleum revenue loss

The government has lost GHC1.88bn in petroleum revenue leakages through nefarious actors within the Ghana Revenue Authority, the presidency and national security, the Ghana Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors has said.

The revenue losses contained in a report authored by the Ghana Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors is littered with lamentations about unabated smuggling, export dumping and under-declaring of receipts.

In export dumping, some players take advantage of a government policy that allows petroleum products to be exported to countries like Burkina Faso and Togo without slapping taxes on them.

These players in the downstream petroleum sector buy the products from Ghana to sell in neighbouring countries but turn back into Ghana’s shores and release the products into the market.

At least 40% of the price of every litre of petroleum sold is tax for the government.

In the case of under-reporting, taxes collected under the Energy Sector Levies are routinely under-declared. The report shows, although government earned 3.87bn in 2016, the Finance ministry reported 3.29bn to Parliament.

In 2017, National Petroleum Authority (NPA) confirmed GHC3.4bn should have been collected but GHC3.15bn was reported to Parliament.

CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors Senyo Hosi explained such massive losses cannot occur without high-level collusion.

‘You can’t just get into certain parts of the market without collaboration’, he told Joy News Tuesday and added “the GRA is at the heart of most of these leakages”.

He said the identities of the criminals in the petroleum downstream is an “open secret” but would not mention names.
“I don’t think the people who matter don’t know”, Senyo Hosi said.

The CEO alleged highly-placed smugglers have been left off the hook through interventions from GRA, National Security and the Presidency.

He said the downstream sector has recorded a 6% shrink since 2016. On the books of the Chamber, there are more than 856,000 tonnes drop in consumption of petroleum products while the cartel pushes unaccounted petroleum products onto the market.

The CBOD CEO said while he appreciates the efforts of the Chief Executive of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) Hassan Tampuli, he is “a lone ranger” incapable of changing the status quo.

He revealed there has been no prosecutions since 15 trucks carrying a combined 810,000 litres of smuggled petroleum products were impounded in September 2017.

NPA CEO Hassan Tampuli confirmed the seizures and said Economic and Organised Crimes Offices (EOCO) and Attorney-General are investigating the Directors of the company.

He expressed trust in the “recognised” state officials at the Energy ministry, National Security who work with the NPA to regulate the sector.

The NPA CEO said the regulator has severely discouraged export damping while it also implements a truck tracking system to check the loads and discharging of petroleum products.