Business News of Wednesday, 7 February 2018
Pressure is mounting on government to come clear on the implementation of the price stabilization levy on petroleum products.
Industry watchers argue that consumers risk being shortchanged if the regulators fail to regulate the application of the levy.
The comments come in the wake of marginal rise in the prices of petroleum products for the first two weeks (1st to 15th) of February 2018.
This is the second time in a row that consumers have had to pay a little more for fuel at the pumps.
The first occurred with the second pricing window in January 2018.
Checks by Citi Business News for instance show that major oil marketing companies such as Total, Goil and Shell have increased their prices by some 4 pesewas; to 4 cedis 67 pesewas per litre each of diesel and petrol.
Price stabilization levy overstayed?
The price stabilization levy was first applied in December 2017, as a windfall tax.
At the time, the decision was to cut down on the supposed excessive profits to be made by the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) due to the continuous drop in oil prices on the global market.
All things being equal, the government is expected to phase the levy out by the end of this month – February 2018.
But the Principal Research Analyst at the Institute of Energy Security (IES), Richmond Rockson tells Citi Business News the failure to come out with a successive plan, leaves much anxiety among consumers.
“In December, the government said it is putting in place the mechanisms for three months but we were of the view that this is not sustainable as it could only last as a temporary measure. But we need a long term solution which is to review the price build up and that is where all the price components are derived,” he asserted.
The Executive Secretary of the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers, Duncan Amoah couldn’t agree more to this.
In his view, the swiftness in introducing the levy has not been the same regarding concerns by industry and consumers on how the marginal rise in prices of crude oil is affecting the ordinary Ghanaian.
NPA yet to respond
The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) is yet to comment on the matter.
In the meantime, the groups want government to review major tax components that have been slapped on the price build ups of petroleum products to bring relief to consumers.
COPEC embarks on demonstration
In a related development, COPEC is embarking on a demonstration on Wednesday, February 7, 2018 to protest the persistent hikes in the prices of petroleum products.
The demonstration, is in collaboration with the Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union (ICU).
It will culminate in presenting a petition to the Ministries of Energy and Finance, Parliament and the Office of the President.