Players in the oil and gas sector are demanding that government discloses proceeds generated from the energy sector levies before going ahead to clear outstanding debts owed the Bulk Oil Distribution Companies (BDCs).
They argue that tax payers are likely to be overcharged in the absence of proper accountability from government.
The comments also come barely a week after the CEO of the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors, Senyo Hosi, told Citi Business News the chamber was optimistic of government’s ability to pay outstanding debts running into 2 billion cedis, by the end of June this year.
But Co-Chair of the Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Dr. Steve Manteaw explains to Citi Business News the lack of transparency in all these transactions, will be unfavorable to tax payers.
“Where is government going to find money to pay the BDCs, the money is definitely going to come from the energy sector levy which government imposed on the 2016 budget. If we have collected levies for at least the past five months, the question is how much have we collected and how much of the debt is government able to pay based on how much it has collected of the proceeds,” he stated.
Dr. Steve Manteaw further lamented the additional burden to be imposed on taxpayers in the absence of accurate information. He contends government ought to disclose how much it has accrued, paid and/ or the remaining balance which may require a halt in the collection of the levy,
“Without proper accounting, there are chances that we will pay and overpay the debts that they owe the BDCs so it is not just about government’s commitment to pay,”
Government’s commitment to pay the accumulated debts also followed the numerous concerns raised over the adverse impact of the debts on operations of commercial banks.
The banks have argued that they were unable to offer credits to businesses in the country.
This has also affected the growth of the economy to a large extent.
Meanwhile Senyo Hosi has downplayed any significant impact of the payment of the debts on the decision by the BDCs and subsequently the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) to reduce the prices of petroleum products.
By: Pius Amihere Eduku/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana