The Institute for Energy Policies and Research (INSTEPR) has called on the Ministry of Finance to, as a matter of urgency, give accounts to Ghanaians on the GH¢1.26 billion accrued from the Price Stabilization and Recovery Levy (PSRL) since 2015.
The energy sector Civil Society organisation queries come after President Nana Akufo-Addo, last week, gave executive approval for the PSRL which is currently GHp16 for gasoline and GHp14 for diesel, to be reduced to zero for a two month period.
This zero rating directive, according to the National Petroleum Authority, regulator of the country’s petroleum downstream industry, is to help Ghanaians in these times of high petroleum prices.
“We welcomed the announcement as good news because the average Ghanaian driver will save GHp64 per gallon of gasoline,” INSTEPR’s Executive Director, Kwadwo N. Poku said, but added that ‘the next logical question is, where is the PSRL money?”
Last week, the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), in a statement questioning government’s zero rating directive, estimated the total amount paid by Ghanaians as a result of PSRL to be GHS 2.53 billion.
As per Act 899, part of this levy is to subsidize premix and residual fuel oil and the balance to be used to stabilize petroleum prices for consumers.
In 2015, the government introduced the Price Stabilization and Recovery Levy under the Energy Sector Levies Act 899. Its main goal is to be used to stabilise pump prices of fuel during high global crude oil prices.
Mr. Poku therefore believes that the government, rather than zero rating the levies for a two month period, should apply the PSRL to cushion consumers against rising global crude oil prices, as established by law.
‘‘When international petroleum prices are low, Ghanaians through this levy will pay an amount into an account and when prices are high this money put aside for a rainy day, will be used to stabilize prices.
“Very laudable policy, right? We have all been paying this levy since 2015 till date and from ACEP’s calculation, there should be about GH¢ 1,263,928,479.69 in that account for price stabilization. If there is ever a time Ghanaians wanted help from our government, I think now will be a good time,” he said.
He added that: “We are just about recovering from COVID-19 pandemic, prices of goods are very high because of high shipping cost, wages have not increased much, and the international petroleum prices is going up every day. Ghanaians are not asking the Finance Minister to borrow to help us, all we want is our ‘susu money’ to help us in these difficult times.
Our members of Parliament who passed the Act, are supposed to ask for accountability but we are yet to see them fulfill their duties. When Parliament resumes from recess, they will have to approve the reduction of the levy. We hope the Mines and Energy committee demand the whereabouts of this money and how government intend to use it. The National Petroleum Authority are only happy to implement margins and taxes but not for once be on the side of the suffering Ghanaians. NPA as sector regulator should present a plan to the Energy Minister and Finance Minister on how the GH¢1.26 billion will be used to stabilize prices.
We should all in one voice demand accountability and proper utilization of the PSRL. This cannot be another TOR Debt Recovery Levy, which we have been paying for over 10 years but TOR still owes water bill. Just reducing the PSRL is not good enough and we are prepared to explore legal options if government does not put forward a plan to help us with our own money.”