Almost GH¢1bn of ESLA Receipts Unreported

More than GH¢915million of petroleum taxes relating to the Energy Sector levies introduced to help clear government’s indebtedness to bulk oil distributors cannot be accounted for, according to independent computations done by the Chamber of Bulk oil Distributors.

In its industry report for 2017, CBOD said the variance between its figures and what the Finance Ministry reported for 2016 and 2017 is mainly the result of transfer pricing, dumping of products meant for export on the local market, and smuggling.

Its analysis of the National Petroleum Authority’s data on the performance of oil marketing companies shows that government failed to account for GH¢576.63million for 2016 and GH¢339.16million for 2017 of ESLA receipts.

“The 2016 volume indicates that government earned a total of GH¢3,875.56million…however, the report by the Ministry of Finance to parliament stated that GH¢3,298.94million was raised,” the report indicates.

“The Ministry of Finance [also] reported to parliament that an amount of GH¢3,151.74million was realised in ESLA receipts for 2017. This position is irreconcilable with computed ESLA receipts earned based on NPA-confirmed 2017 OMC performance data, which indicate that GH¢3,490.90million should have been collected.”

The situation, CBOD said, is extremely alarming and suggestive of “a high level of corruption and tax evasion”.

It is imperative, it said, that government commissions an “immediate” investigation into the matter.

Speaking at the report’s launch, CEO of CBOD Senyo Hosi said: “The volumes are certified by the NPA but we have very weak sectorial coordination, so you do not have Customs speaking with NPA to reconcile volumes. People move products out of depots and the bookings are nowhere to be found”.

Passed in 2015, the Energy Sector Levies Act (ESLA) was introduced to help clear outstanding debts government owed BDCs through subsidy guarantees and interest accruing on same.

Through the Energy bond programme, government has paid a total of GH¢619.48million to BDCs. However, some yet to be validated claims of GH¢1.62billion remain according CBOD.