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Ghanaians to pay more for fuel, LPG

 The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has hinted that Ghanaians will from August 1 this year pay more for fuel and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).

According to him, the increase in fuel prices is to enable the Akufo-Addo led administration address the rising energy sector debt.

 “Government proposes to increase the Energy Sector Levies by GHp 20 per litre for petrol and diesel and GHp 8 per kg for LPG, so as to increase the inflows to enable Government issue additional bonds to pay down our energy sector debt obligations,” he said.

The minister said this during the presentation of the 2019 Mid-Year Budget Review to the country’s Parliament here in Accra on Monday.

Government has since 2017 raised almost GHS 6 billion through the Energy Sector Levy Act (ESLA) Bond. The monies have been expended on legacy debts accrued by the Mahama-led administration, the Finance Minister said in his address to parliament.

“The bond proceeds were used to liquidate approximately 60% of the Energy Sector Legacy debts,” he noted.

The Government in 2017 issued the Energy Sector Levy Act (ESLA) Bond, which has, to date, raised almost GHS 6 billion on the back of ESLA levies to pay for legacy debts from the previous government.

Prior to the mid-year budget review in parliament on Monday, the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) released a statement saying, it will resist any attempts by government to increase fuel prices.

Executive Secretary to the group, Duncan Amoah, said Ghanaians will not be able to bear an increase in fuel prices.

“A section of members of Ghana’s Parliament are already pretty certain of a potential hike in the already choking levels of taxation on the petroleum price build-up affecting Ghanaian pockets,” Mr. Amoah said in a recent radio interview prior to the Finance Minister’s presentation.

A statement subsequently released by COPEC also read, “General cost of living within the country has been pushed steeply upwards as a result of high fuel prices but little has been done to reduce the taxes although policy makers and the government acknowledges the difficulties people within the country are facing as a result of these super high fuel prices at the pumps.”

The Chamber urged the government to focus on illegal fuel smuggling activities happening across the country.

“Provisional figures of Revenue lost by the country according to the NPA for last year alone was in excess of $ 200 million whiles our conservative calculations around the same period points to a revenue loss of about GhS 1.6 billion to the State…. These figures are expected to be even higher by close of year 2019 if nothing is done to stop the illegal fuel smuggling within the country,” COPEC said.

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