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Sunday, November 28, 2021

INSTEPR Queries Finance Minister –

Kwadwo N. Poku

THE INSTITUTE for Energy Policies and Research (INSTEPR) has called on the Minister of Finance, as a matter of urgency, to give accounts to Ghanaians on the GH¢1.26 billion accrued from the price stabilisation and recovery levy (PSRL) since 2015.

In a press release by Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), it estimated the total amount paid by Ghanaians as a result of PSRL as GH¢2.53 billion.

According to Kwadwo N. Poku, Executive Director, INSTEPR, as per the Act 899, part of this levy is to subsidise premix and residual fuel oil and the balance to be used to stabilise petroleum prices for consumers, INSTEPR noted.

“Last week, the President gave executive approval for the PSRL which is currently GHp16 for gasoline and GHp14 for diesel, to be reduced to zero. This reduction, we are told by Government, is to help Ghanaians in these times of high petroleum prices. We welcomed the announcement as good news because the average Ghanaian driver will save GHp64 per gallon of gasoline.  The next logical question is, where is the PSRL money?,” he quizzed.

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He said in 2015, the government introduced the Price Stabilisation and Recovery Levy under the Energy Sector Levies Act 899, to ensure that ‘‘When international Petroleum prices are low, Ghanaians through this levy will pay an amount into an account and when prices are high this money put aside for a rainy day, will be used to stabilize prices.’’

“Very laudable policy, right? We have all been paying this levy since 2015 till date and from ACEP’s calculation, there should be about GH¢1,263,928,479.69 in that account for price stabilisation. If there is ever a time Ghanaians wanted help from our government, I think now will be a good time. We are just about recovering from COVID-19 pandemic, prices of goods are very high because of high shipping cost, wages have not increased much, and the international petroleum prices is going up every day. Ghanaians are not asking the Finance Minister to borrow to help us. All we want is our ‘susu money’ to help us in these difficult times.

“Our members of Parliament who passed the Act, are supposed to ask for accountability but we are yet to see them fulfill their duties. When Parliament resumes from recess, they will have to approve the reduction of the levy. We hope the Mines and Energy committee demand the whereabouts of this money and how Government intend to use it.  The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) are only happy to implement margins and Taxes but not for once be on the side of the suffering Ghanaians. NPA as sector regulator should present a plan to the Energy Minister and Finance Minister on how the GHS1.26 billion will be used to stabilize prices,” Mr Poku stated.

He added, “We should all in one voice demand accountability and proper utilization of the PSRL. This cannot be another TOR Debt Recovery Levy, which we have been paying for over 10 years but TOR still owes water bill. Just reducing the PSRL is not good enough and we are prepared to explore legal options if government does not put forward a plan to help us with our own money.”


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