Adnan Adams Mohammed
A recent report has unveil that the country lost almost GH¢2 billion in tax revenue due to regulatory lapses and leakages.
The government’s has shown commitments to block these loopholes to raise the required revenue for the state as the Finance Minister nominee has expressed the government’s commitment to deal with revenue losses in the petroleum sector.
Speaking in a Virtual PwC Budget Forum, last week, the minister said a lot of time is needed to deal with these challenges in the sector.
“For us as a Ministry and also telling if there are leakages in the petroleum sector OMC’s, can we form a group to make sure that those things stop and it not the responsibility of government it’s a responsibility for all of us. I know there will be issues about efficiency but we are also using the digitization system, I believe we have the members in the right places, we should be able to move our revenue and GDP to the 20% that we want because of the digitalization,” Ken Ofori-Atta said.
Meanwhile, the Government is looking at raising about GH¢72.4 billion in revenue and grants. It is expected that GH¢55.6 billion will come from taxes. However, some analysts and tax consultants have raised issues with these policy measures.
The Ghana Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors (CBOD) recently launched the 2019 Petroleum Industry report with a call on government to take steps to quickly end the illegal trade in petroleum products in the downstream sector.
Addressing a virtual gathering on Zoom to launch the report, the Chairperson of the Board of the Chamber, Ivy Appiah Owusu, lamented that gains that had been made in previous years to clamp down on illegal fuel trading have been eroded in recent times.
“This is something the CBOD and industry have spent several months trying to combat. Quite frankly at a point, we thought we had made some progress and saw some traction,” Mrs. Appiah Owusu said. “But it seems this practice has reared its ugly head again and this is one of the key focus areas the CBOD will be working closely with industry to find a lasting solution to.”
Mrs. Appiah Owusu added: “As we delve into the report when we get our hands on our own copies, I will urge each and every one of us to focus on finding practical, bold, innovative and lasting solutions to the most pressing issues facing this industry. And that is what precisely what this report seeks to do.”
The Chief Executive of CBOD, Senyo Hosi, reiterating the issues on the illegal fuel trade, lamented the failure of successive governments to investigate arrest and prosecute those profiting from illicit petroleum dealings.
“The biggest problem is with those who are supposed to watch and make sure criminals don’t thrive – and that is the GRA, the security apparatus and the political establishment, which is as corrupt as the criminals we equally have among the PSPs” Mr. Hosi said.
“We effectively have a state capture situation where almost every phase or strata in the entire chain is heavily compromised. GRA is compromised. National security is compromised. The regulators are compromised. Customs/GRA is compromised. BNI is compromised. A number of times we have had smuggling happening at shore [with] security officials protecting it. If we really have to fix this, we need proper leadership. What we are doing at CBOD is to bring this situation to light. Our politicians are actually being funded by some of these proceeds.”