The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has disclosed that Ghana loses about 850 million cedis annually in taxes, due to the increased activities of fuel smugglers into and out of the country.
The illegal act is said to involve operators who ply their business at the ports by fuelling tanks with fuel products brought into the country via unapproved routes.
The second category of the illicit trade is carried out by businesses who apply under the pretext of exporting petroleum products but end up selling them within Ghana, thereby evading some taxes.
The Chief Executive of the NPA, Hassan Tampuli confirmed the worrying development to Citi Business News after a visit to the Tema port led by Deputy Finance Minister, Kweku Kwarteng on Thursday.
“We estimate that about 250,000 metric tonnes of losses in terms of petroleum products get to this country and that is estimated to cost the country 850,000,000 cedis,” he said.
Mr. Tampuli added, “NPA considers this as a great concern and we have engaged all stakeholders involving the security agencies and the Ministry of Finance.” According to the NPA boss, the vessels believed to be perpetrating the act berth at the Harbour under the guise of dislodging sludge (which is dirty oil) but actually discharge diesel or petrol to directly into fuel tankers parked at shore.
The industry regulator is also alarmed over concerns that some of these products could be coming from pirated sources. To commence the clampdown, the NPA has directed that, “No vessel be allowed to discharge petroleum products at the Tema port, main harbor, fishing harbor or dry dock.”
Commenting on businesses flouting the provisions guiding the export of petroleum products to neighbouring Burkina Faso or Mali, Mr. Tampuli asserted that the relative cheaper prices quoted by the miscreants distort the market as their prices make genuinely sanctioned ones expensive for the consumer.
As a result, the NPA, together with the Finance Ministry have reiterated the enforcement of the new tax exemption rules to curb the abuse of the current provisions.