A 2020 report of the Auditor-General has revealed that 28 Oil Marketing Companies in the country owe the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority an amount of GH¢ 226.9 million.
According to the audit report, the 28 OMCs from July 2018 to December 2019, lifted various petroleum products without paying the required duties and taxes.
Section 104 of the Customs Act, 2015 (Act 891) provides that where the Commissioner-General establishes that a person owes duty or tax arrears, that person shall within thirty days of a written request by the Commissioner-General refund the money or pay the duty or tax arrears owed.
“Our audit disclosed that 28 OMCs from July 2018 to December 2019, lifted various petroleum products without paying the required duties and taxes totalling GH¢226,942,904.00 to GRA-Customs Division,” the audit report noted.
The Auditor-General therefore recommended to the Commissioner-General of the Customs Division to recover the amount of GH¢226.9 million from the OMCs without any further delay.
The Auditor-General’s report also noted that four Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) did not pay for taxes on 59.7 million litres of fuel products valued at GH¢5.45 million lifted at Tema Oil
It recommended to the Commissioner-General, GRA to recover the tax component of GH¢5.45 million from the OMCs and take precautionary measures to avoid such occurrence.
Speaking to Citi Business News about the revelations in the report, Duncan Amoah, the Executive Secretary of the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC), said all steps need to be taken to ensure the monies are retrieved.
“These 28 OMCs are duly licensed, and so it calls into question our licensing regime. If it turns out that the licence that was approved has been used in such a dubious manner to short-change the state and for that matter the Ghanaian people, it is our expectation that the GRA and the NPA will combine with the national security to ensure they recoup and recover these taxes due the state from beneficial owners of these licences before you can talk of stage 2, perhaps further sanctions being applied in the form of these licences being revoked.”
“It is our expectation that the state authorities will take further steps to recover these monies due the state and then if need be, go ahead to also sanction those licence holders. But just revoking the licence and leaving the monies to go, I’m afraid that will not be the most prudent use of our resource base,” he added.