House Approves Special Tax On Petroleum Products

Parliament has approved the Special Petroleum Tax Bill 2014, proposed in the budget statement yesterday, to impose a 17.5 per cent ex-depot tax on some selected petroleum products, despite a walk-out by the Minority Caucus.

Following the passage of the tax by Parliament, the price of Kerosene has been increased by 2.8 per cent, diesel and premium petrol, three per cent, and marine gas oil, 3.2 per cent.

The price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) has, however, been reduced by 9.8 per cent, while premix fuel has not been affected by the increase.

Before the First Deputy Speaker, Ebo Barton Oduro, could put the question for the approval, the Minority, led by its leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, walked out to register their protest. This was after a heated argument between the two sides of the House lasting for close to an hour.

Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the imposition of the 17.5 per cent tax on petroleum products would cause an increase in prices of all goods and services in the country, and further exacerbate the challenges Ghanaians were going through.

He said the government was insensitive to the poor and needy in the society, and had imposed the taxes at a time poor people were struggling to survive.

After they left, the Majority Leader, Alban Bagbin, described the walk out as “very unfortunate,” saying that “looking at the demographics of Ghana, taxes need to be put in place to provide basic infrastructure for some of the under-privileged”.

According to the Special Petroleum Tax Bill, 2014, an amount of GH1.541 billion is expected to be realised from the implementation of the tax from November 2014 to December 2015.

The amount, according to the bill, would be used to support the implementation of the 2015 budget to meet social intervention goals.

Presenting the Finance Committee’s report on the bill, the Chairman of the committee, James Avedzi, said the Deputy Minister of Finance, informed the committee that the tax would lead to marginal increases in prices of petroleum products.

“The committee was informed that the revenue target for the 2015 budget had taken into account, revenues to be raised from the Special Petroleum Tax from November 2014 to December 2015,” he said.

By Yaw Kyei

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