The Outgoing Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors, Senyo Hosi, says Ghanaians are justified in their demand for a reduction in petroleum tariffs to ease current economic hardships.
According to him, some of the petroleum taxes are merely nuisance taxes which have outlived their purpose and should thus be scrapped.
He stated that Ghana’s current tax regime overburdens people, and despite the large revenue gains from the sector, there has not been any form of infrastructural investment into the Ghanaian society using the funds.
“See, we’re paying taxes every year, we’re raising 7, 8, 9 billion cedis from petroleum, the SPT was brought in and that’s even what? 2 or 3 billion every year because we said that upstream revenues were dropping so we were bringing that in.
“Upstream revenues are not dropping, they’re going up because petroleum prices have gone up, so then consumers have every case why a tax like the SPT should be gone,” he said on JoyNews’ PM Express Business Edition.
He explained that the current high inflation rate, partly caused by the hikes in petroleum prices could have largely been mitigated had the government made major investments into the railway sector and other modes of mass transportation using petroleum revenue.
He noted that such an investment would have afforded Ghanaians a cheaper transportation alternative consequently easing the hardships they currently face having to buy fuel and pay ever increasing commercial transport fares.
“I support the public because they’ve invested through the sector in government and government has actually failed woefully in investing back in systems that mitigate distress relative to petroleum prices. Now all the money you collected all this while, what key infrastructure investment have you made that will make life for the consumer easier as far as their regular spend on petrol is concerned?
“So if you had a railway running through Adenta straight to Accra Central, a detour that goes to Circle; we had a rail that was running from Kasoa or Bawjiase or wherever all the way to Tema linking these two places; these are the nexus that you actually have because everyone will end up passing somewhere around Tetteh Quarshie or passing somewhere around Circle, something like that.
“Another one running all the way from Nsawam down to Circle, people can decide to park their car because people need transportation, they don’t need cars. We all don’t need cars, we need transportation; cars provide transportation. We have to be careful what we ask for,” he said.
“If I can’t afford fuel today to move my car, I should be able to have an alternative, decent kind of transportation. Do you really have that in Ghana? You don’t. The trotro will cost more than rail will. Have we invested in a rail network to be able to deliver that?” he added.
Senyo Hosi suggested that an investment in an extensive railway network would have provided Ghana a more efficient use of its surplus power generated.
However, he said, successive governments have neglected the sector thus providing no cushion for the ordinary Ghanaian.
“We are sitting here, we have so much power, we’re generating so much power, we’re paying some millions of dollars for dormant capacity – I mean, for capacity charges that are unproductive, that power could have been channeled to power rail.
“We won’t be losing on that end but we’ll actually be saving. So my cost of transportation as an individual or as a regular Ghanaian will drop. If you like to drive nonetheless, you face the music yourself because you’ll pay the full price of the fuel.
“But government has failed and it must admit and possibly even apologise to the people of Ghana, all successive governments included,” he said.
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