Despite the assurance given by government that the controversial 13.5 pesewas cylinder recirculation levy has been withdrawn from the price of Liquefied petroleum gas, LPG, the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers, COPEC, insists the levy is still being charged at gas fuel stations across the country.
COPEC is already in court with the Consumer Protection Agency to compel the National Petroleum Authority, NPA, to stop imposing the charge on Ghanaians, describing the action by the regulator as illegal.
Energy Minister, John Peter Amewu on Thursday at the COVID-19 press briefing announced that the 13.5 pesewas cylinder recirculation levy has been withdrawn.
But speaking to Citi Business News, the Executive Director of COPEC, Duncan Amoah, said the NPA is still imposing the illegal tax on Ghanaians in these difficult times when the public is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We were quite happy to hear the Minister say, the levy has been withdrawn. Unfortunately, as I speak with you, every Ghanaian that is buying LPG, is still paying the illegal levy that the Minister’s good counsel should have withdrawn about a week ago. But it hasn’t been withdrawn as we speak. So, Ghanaians are still paying for it,” he said.
The Vice Chairman of the LPG Marketing Companies, Gabriel Kumi, also confirmed that indeed the levy is still being charged. He said since the National Petroleum Authority directed LPG stations to collect the levy, the regulator has not written back for the levy to be withdrawn.
“Yes, it is actually the case because we haven’t had any directive from NPA to stop charging the levy. Not up until this afternoon when the Minister announced that the levy has been scrapped. We didn’t know that. Last night, we had a second window price build-up which is normally sent to us by our regulator. When we checked, the levy was still charged. We were very happy that this afternoon at the Press Conference, the Minister announced that it has been scrapped. So, we drew the Minister’s attention to the fact that, the levy is still on the price build-up. Then, he said he will call NPA to order,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Head of Communications at the Ministry of Energy, Nana Oppong Damoah, has stated that the directive has been issued and the processes are being undertaken to make sure that it is being implemented.
“If the directive is not being implemented as we speak, then we may want to avert your mind to the fact that there are usually implementation modules that needs to be understood and clearly communicated. So, I am sure that the NPA is going through those processes,” he said.
“What I can say for a fact is that the withdrawal order has been given and will pass through if it hasn’t been passed through yet. The directive has been given, the NPA is aware and it is going through its internal issues to ensure that it is rightfully communicated,” he added.
He assured the various industry players that they will soon ‘receive the necessary communication for the needful to be done,’ if they haven’t received any letter to that effect.
The NPA on Wednesday, April 1, 2020, instructed industry players to begin 13.5 pesewas charge on each kilogram of LPG.
It also instructed Oil Marketing Companies, OMCs, to increase the levy on Fuel Marking Margin from three pesewas to 4.5 pesewas per litre on every product.
Although the NPA has justified its actions, some industry players have said that both directives are unlawful and must be withdrawn with immediate effect given the impact it will have on the business.
In an earlier release issued by the NPA, on Friday, April 4, 2020, they maintained that such calls are unfortunate because its projection rather shows that for the very pricing window (1st April to 15 April, 2020), consumers are expected to enjoy a price reduction of about 11.56 percent even with the introduction of the Cylinder Recovery Margin.
They also stated that, contrary to “their claim that the introduction of the margin will increase the product price at the pumps and thereby burden the consumer, the facts as they stand do not support that.”