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Special Petroleum Tax Amendment Bill 2018 passed in move to reduce fuel prices

The government of Ghana is to lose a tax revenue of GH¢47.90 million on petroleum by the passage of the Special Petroleum Tax Amendment Bill 2018 on Thursday.

Before the passage of the Bill in Parliament, the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Mark Asibey Yeboah, noted that an expected revenue loss of GH¢ 47.90 million per annum will result from the fiscal impact of the Bill if passed into law.

The Committee believes that the bill is in tandem with government’s aim of shifting the focus of tax policy from the introduction of new taxes to improving tax compliance as a basis for revenue generation.

It said it is also part of moves to shift focus from taxation to production in order to stimulate economic growth and development.

The committee also further stated that officials from the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) informed it that effective Friday, February 16, the prices of petrol and diesel are anticipated to go down by 1.39 per cent and 2.6 per cent respectively under the pricing mechanism that pertains now.

The Authority also stressed that with the expected passage of the Bill, ex-pump price of petrol will go down by 3.39 per cent whilst that of diesel would also go down by 4.14 per cent.

Dr Asibey Yeboah noted that the NPA has estimated that upon the passage of the Bill into law,  petrol prices would reduce from the present GH¢ 4.67 per cent per litre to GH¢ 4.51 per litre whilst diesel would sell at GH¢ 4.48 per litre instead of the current price of GH¢ 4.48 per litre.

The Minority, however, accused government and the Majority of failing to completely scrap the entire tax on petroleum as promised to Ghanaians.

Member for Yapei-Kusawgu Constituency John Jinapor, Pru East MP Kwabena Donkor and Ellembelle MP Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, who is a former Petroleum Minister, were of the view that per the calculation, the reduction is insignificant and does not represent a relief to the ordinary Ghanaian and the commercial driver.

A Deputy Minister of Finance, Kwaku Kwateng, thought otherwise, however, saying the reduction rather puts a smile on the face of the taxi driver.

He said the taxi driver who purchases 300 gallons of petrol in a month could save over GH¢200 per month.

This he said is significant.

The Special Petroleum Tax (Amendment) Bill 2018 has been taken through all stages before being passed into law.

The Finance Committee told Parliament that the object of the bill is to amend the Special Petroleum Tax Act, 2014 (Act 879).

By Owoahene Omari Acheampong||Ghana

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