The Minority in Parliament has announced a nationwide ‘outreach’ to make a case for a reduction in fuel price.
Minority spokesperson on Energy, Adams Mutawakilu who addressed the media in his office in Parliament said, the fuel price could be reduced by at least 10%.
This can be achieved by the removal of the Special Petroleum Tax which the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government introduced in 2014, he said.
The NDC government had planned its 2014 budget on oil price remaining at about $99 per barrel. But by November 2014, oil was selling for $50 per barrel.
Government which had hoped to rake in ¢4.2bn in revenue was now staring at ¢1.5bn. Some ¢2.7bn was gone with oil plummeting.
A 17.5% Special Petroluem Tax was introduced under a certificate of urgency and within 24hours, the law mandating the tax was passed much to the consternation of the Minority NPP.
Asokwa NPP MP, Kobina Tahir Hammond called the tax “a complete nonsense” and a “criminal offence”. Agreeing with the description as “criminal”, another NPP MP, Dr. Mark Assibey Yeboah vowed, he would “resist with my blood”.
Two years into the collection of the tax, government bagged ¢931 million in additional revenue. But it had also lost power.
The new government, despite promising to scrap the tax, could only announce a reduction to 15% in March 2017.
The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC), a year later, in 2018 embarked on a demonstration, observing that since President Akufo-Addo came to power in January 2017, petroleum prices have increased cumulatively by 28%.
Eight days after the demonstration, government has offered a 2% reduction in the Special Petroleum Tax to 13% in February 2018.
Mark Assibey Yeboah, who had vowed to resist the tax with his blood was now Chairman of Parliament’s Finance committee and he called the 2% reduction “a big relief”.
Petrol which was selling for ¢4.67ps would sell for ¢4.51ps while diesel sold at ¢4.67ps was to go for ¢4.48ps following the reduction.
But as at September 2018, petrol is selling beyond ¢5 per litre, sparking criticisms on social media.
The Minority in Parliament has repeated its call since 2017 that government ought to scrap the Special Petroleum Tax because it has outlived its usefulness.
It was brought in because oil price in 2014 had lost half of its value. But the NPP government had prepared its 2018 budget based on an oil price of $57.36 per barrel which is bringing in $669.4 million in revenue.
“We don’t need it at this stage”, Minority spokesperson on Energy, Adams Mutawakilu said. He said the Minority NDC will start combing the regions and districts from October 15,2018.
The NDC MP said the Minority would “meet various stakeholders to prove to them the reason why we are calling on government that the Special Petroleum Tax should be taken off”.
The tax is now 46 pesewas per litre of petrol, diesel and LPG. He said if a consumer bought five litres of fuel, government would be taking ¢2 as Special Petroleum Tax.
There are at least 11 different taxes on petroleum products constituting at least 49% of fuel price at the pump. In September 2017 when a litre of petrol sold at ¢4.39p, the tax on it amount to ¢2.17p