The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning is not coming clear on the amount of money so far collected under the TOR recovery levy.
The situation is gradually giving credence to allegations that the funds which are being collected from the public to settle the debt of the ailing Tema Oil Refinery, has been misapplied.
At a forum organised by the ministry for financial journalists in collaboration with the Institute of Economic and Financial Journalists (IFEJ), the ministry was unable to come clear on the quantum of money collected so far to help resuscitate TOR.
The levy was introduced some 10 years ago in a bid to clear the massive debt overhang on TOR as a result of under recoveries.
The debt nearly sent the Ghana Commercial Bank which finances most of the letters of credit for the lifting of crude oil for processing by TOR, to its knees until the introduction of the levy, proceeds of which were used at the initials stages to clear part of the debt.
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Since then, what has accrued from the levy continues to be a mirage as the public is denied that information.
The attitude of government has forced some institution to demand accountability from government as far as the levy was concerned.
Recently, the Private Enterprise Foundation (PEF) expressed concerns about the lack of transparency regarding the TOR recovery levy of 8.0Gp per litre of petrol, which has been collected ostensibly to clear debts jeopardising the effective operations of the country’s oil refinery.
PEF, in a statement said; “the public is not aware of the amounts of the debts that have been re-paid, the amount outstanding and how long it will take to completely retire the debt.”
The Managing Director of the TOR, Mr. Ato Ampiah is reported to have said recently that the monies accruing from the TOR recovery levy were not being applied for its intended purpose, a statement the Energy Minister, Emmanuel Kofi Buah subsequently debunked but could unfortunately not provide the amount accrued nor explain in detail, how the money has been applied over the years.
Workers of TOR had accused government officials of deliberately running down the 45,000bpd capacity refinery to enable private individuals and organisations benefit from the importation of refined petroleum products.
Although the refinery is not operating, workers continue to enjoy their monthly salaries while the refinary continue to stand idle. Some experts have claimed that the government would have to dole out millions of Ghana cedis to continue to maintain the plant though not in productio.
The National Petroleum Authority (NPA)’s on its part has also not been able to give any tangible explanations as to why TOR remains dormant for years in spite of the claims of implementing the deregulation policy.
NPA continues to handle petroleum pricing formula, over the past decade, aimed at ensuring full cost recovery, revenue generation, and unified ex-pump prices throughout the country through the Unified Petroleum Price Fund, (UPPF).
In addition to procurement and handling charges, and other related charges, parliament imposes taxes and levies on every litre of petrol including excise duty of 2.7800Gp, TOR Debt Recovery of 8.0000Gp. Cross Subsidy Levy of 5.0000Gp, Exploration Levy of 0.1000Gp, Energy Fund Levy of 0.0500Gp and Road Fund Levy of 6.0000Gp.
Story by Charles Benoni Okine and Jessica Acheampong/Graphic Business