The Minority in Parliament has demanded that government must as a matter of urgency, scrap two levies in the petroleum price buildup to relieve Ghanaians of the economic hardships these taxes have imposed on them.
In their view, the sanitation levy, introduced in the 2021 budget and fiscal policy and the special petroleum levies were needless and should be removed.
The sanitation levy imposes a 10 pesewas charge on every litre of diesel and petrol bought at the pump whilst, the special petroleum levy imposes 46 pesewas per litre of petrol and diesel.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Bongo, Edward Bawa, during the debate of the 2022 budget statement of government yesterday in the House, said government can do without these levies because Ghanaians already pay for them in other areas.
According to Mr Bawa currently, every assembly pays GHC80,000 for fumigation and GHC40,000 for sanitation implementation programme.
“This means that we already pay for sanitation so why levy us again through petroleum? This is a tax we can do without,” he stated.
On the special petroleum levy, he said it was introduced in 2014 to fill in for the gap the drop in crude oil prices was causing the government of the time with a sunset clause for the levy to be removed in 2017.
Mr Bawa, then a communication consultant at the Ministry of Energy, recalled that the tax was critical at the time because crude oil prices on the International market had dropped to US$25 per barrel against a projection of US$50.
“Unfortunately for Ghanaians, this government upon assuming office decided to reintroduce the tax and make it a fix tax. This tax must be removed,” he demanded.
To him, it is unconscionable for government to make the levy a permanent one at a time it is raking in US$90 per barrel from three oil fields and at a time Ghanaians are faced with economic pressure.
“We are now producing from three fields so in terms of revenue, we are recording high numbers so, why will you still be keeping that levy on the price buildup to burden the already burdened Ghanaian?” he asked.
The best government can do for the people in “these times of hardship” would be to remit these taxes to relief the citizenry.
“We are convinced that these are some of the taxes we can do without and still be ok, because we are either paying in one way or the other or their purpose of introduction is defeated.
“What we are saying is that there should be an immediate cessation of those charges so that Ghanaians have some level of reprieve.”