The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) says Government cannot continuously tax Ghanaians holding onto the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) Debt Recovery Levy, since their investigations show that, the technically, the debt has been cleared and even overpaid with the levies accrued from 2004.
The Debt Recovery Fund Levy Act 2003 (Act 642) was passed to help finance TOR’s accumulated debt and cater for the company’s under recovery.
Due to this, a debt recovery levy was subsequently imposed on some petroleum products.
But ACEP says at the time the levy was instituted, the total debt stood at GHc450 million. The centre says if for any reason the debt has not been cleared, then government is to blame for either mismanaging the levies or for non-compliance.
He said ACEP submitted to Parliament a comprehensive report on the levy, explaining why government must discontinue the collection of the levy.
Speaking at a news conference, Executive Director of ACEP, Muhammed Amin Adam, said by 2009, the total debt had grown to GHc9,00 million due to non-application of the revenues to service the debt as well as interest accumulation.
“Our analysis shows that from 2009 and 2015, the total collection from the levy is in excess of GH1.9 billion, which effectively amortises the debt assuming an interest rate of 10 per cent and, therefore, finds it difficult to comprehend why consumers should continue to pay this debt.”
ACEP made the revelation in response to the latest increases in the prices of petroleum products, for which government among others introduced a tax component to settle the TOR debt.
ACEP argued that the levy among others “have led to increase in the ex-pump price of petrol per litre by 33%, 40% on diesel per litre and 22% on LPG per kilogram.”
The centre insists that the TOR Debt Recovery Levy has been misapplied “aided by the weak oversight of Parliament.”
ACEP also challenged the Minister of Finance to furnish Parliament with reports on the fund. “Section 13 of the TOR Debt Recovery Fund Levy Act 2003 (Act 642), states that “the Minister shall within three months after the end of each financial year, submit a report on the Fund to Parliament.
The Minister of Finance over the years, failed to submit this report to Parliament, which reduces the Minister’s legal and moral authority to continue collecting the levy.
ACEP would like to demand that the Minister complies with the law by submitting to Parliament a comprehensive report on the levy covering the period 2004 to 2014,” Amin Adam added.