The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) has said that it will fiercely resist any attempt by the government to increase fuel taxes in the 2019 Mid-year Budget in to be read later in Parliament today, Monday.
There are speculations that among the key components of the mid-year budget review will be an increment in taxes on petroleum products.
But the Executive Secretary for COPEC, Duncan Amoah argued that the general cost of living in the country has increased as a result of high fuel prices, thus an increment in the taxes will only worsen the plight of Ghanaians.
“Any attempt to foist on us any additional increases by way of taxes instead of the rather general expectations of reductions will be fiercely resisted.”
In a press statement ahead of the budget reading, Mr. Duncan Amoah said Ghanaians will not be able to bear that cost of an increment.
“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.”
“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.”
COPEC said increasing petroleum taxes will be “easiest route in squeezing additional revenue from an already frustrated petroleum consumer.”
COPEC said although it believes that there is the need to broaden the country’s tax net, it will be insensitive to increase taxes considering the general hardship in the country.
The Chamber urged the government to focus on illegal fuel smuggling activities happening across the country which leads to revenue leakages instead.
“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.