The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has disclosed that Ghana loses about GH¢850 million annually in taxes due to the increased activities of fuel smugglers in the country.
The illegal act is said to involve operators at the ports who fuel tanks with products brought into the country via unapproved routes.
Businesses that apply under the pretext of exporting petroleum products, end up selling them in Ghana, thereby evading some taxes.
The Chief Executive of the NPA, Hassan Tampuli confirmed the worrying development to journalists 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 that “NPA considers this as a great concern and we have engaged all stakeholders, including 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 (dirty oil) but actually discharge diesel or petrol directly into fuel tankers at shore.
The industry regulator is also alarmed over concerns that some of these products could be coming from pirated sources.
To address the problem, 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, has reiterated its commitment to enforcing the new tax exemption rules to curb the abuse of the current provisions.