The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) has called on the government to take steps to immediately reduce the prices of petroleum products or face massive street protests in the next two weeks.
“We are calling on the President, as a matter of urgency, to instruct the Finance and Energy ministries to do what is needful in these difficult times to reduce and stabilise fuel prices in the country,” a statement issued in Accra yesterday and signed by the Executive Secretary of the COPEC, Mr Duncan Amoah, stated.
“It takes a very serious view of the recent continuous increases in fuel prices across the country.
“The past four petroleum pricing windows have seen an average cumulative increases of over 9.84 per cent, with a litre of petrol that used to trade at around GH¢3.68 now selling at over GH¢4.130 per litre with diesel selling at GH¢ 0.1 less of what petrol sells for,” the chamber noted.
It said increases in petroleum prices often resulted from hikes in world oil market prices and forex indexes but increases partly due to taxes could not be ruled out.
“Taxes continue to remain very high on current pump prices, with the price of each litre of fuel at the pumps consisting of over 51 per cent in taxes alone,” the statement said.
It noted as worrying the many taxes that continued to exist on petroleum products, whose actual requirement or basis for collection was moot and currently non-existent.
“For instance, the Price Stabilisation and Recovery Levy which is being charged currently at 12p per litre on petrol and 10p per litre on diesel was put on as a containing measure to stabilise prices in an unlikely event of shocks and fluctuations on the international market and could be varied downwards to stabilise prices.
“These levies have never been used nor adjusted to help with stabilisation of prices in times when fuel prices have been economical on the world market and yet they continue to remain at the same 12p per litre even at this time,” it said.
The statement said the Primary Distribution Margin, which was also meant to ease the burden on importers of petroleum products to enable them to sell at balanced prices across the country, irrespective of the region, was currently not used for the purpose and therefore, oil marketing companies (OMCs) had had to pay different quotations for products in different depots across the country.
The consumer suffers
According to the statement, the consumer was unfortunately paying these taxes at no benefit.
It said calls for the fixing of a special amount in respect of the Special Petroleum Tax (SPT) had till date not been heeded and that continued to be a huge burden on both OMCs and the consumer.
It said it was clear that the government had no control over world market prices but eventual prices charged at the pumps were a function that the government could control in respect of taxes and levies slapped on the products.
It noted that with a current daily national consumption of more than 10.2 million litres for petrol and diesel, and a net tax revenue of over GH¢27.1 million daily, it would be difficult to accept that the government could not reduce taxes on petroleum products, especially at a time when world market figures were rising and a lot more revenue would be made from Ghana’s petroleum exports from the Jubilee and TEN fields.