Account for price stabilisation levy— Think tank

BY: Emmanuel Bruce
Ken Ofori-Atta
Ken Ofori-Atta

Pressure is mounting on the government to account for the money accrued from the Price Stabilisation and Recovery Levy (PSRL).

The latest think tank to add its voice to the call is the Institute for Energy Policies and Research (IEPR) which is calling on the Minister of Finance, to as a matter of urgency, give an account to Ghanaians on the GH¢1.26 billion accrued from the levy since 2015.

The research institute in a press release signed by its Executive Director, Mr Kwadwo N. Poku, said while it welcomed the decision of the government to zero rate the PRSL for the next two months, it was also interested in how the money accrued from the levy so far had been spent.

President Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo recently gave an executive approval for the PSRL which is currently GHp16 for gasoline and GHp14 for Diesel, to be reduced to zero.

This reduction is to help Ghanaians in these times of high petroleum prices.

“We welcome the announcement as good news because the average Ghanaian driver will save GHp64 per gallon of gasoline. The next logical question is, where the PSRL money is,” Mr Poku questioned.

Context

The government in 2015 introduced the Price Stabilisation and Recovery Levy under the Energy Sector Levies Act, 2015 (Act 899).

The main thinking behind the introduction of the levy was that when international petroleum prices were low, Ghanaians through this levy would pay an amount into an account and when prices went up, this money put aside for a rainy day would be used to stabilise prices.’’

“We have all been paying this levy since 2015 till date and from ACEP’s calculation, there should be about GH¢1.26 billion in that account for price stabilisation. If there is ever a time Ghanaians wanted help from our government, I think now will be a good time.

“We are just about recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, prices of goods are very high because of high shipping cost, wages have not increased much, and the international petroleum prices are 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,” Mr Poku stated.

Demanding for accountability

Mr Poku said the members of Parliament who passed the Act were supposed to ask for accountability, but Ghanaians were yet to see them fulfill that respectively.

“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 the government intend to use it.

He said Ghanaians should all, with one voice demand accountability and proper utilisation 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,” he noted.