14.04.2005 General News

CJA queries government figures again

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Accra, April 14, GNA - The Committee for Joint Action (CJA), organisers of the "Wahala" campaign against last February's fuel price hike, on Thursday queried government figures again, as the two sides continue to challenge each other about figures in the petroleum sector. It has also cautioned the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission and the government against raising the tariffs on water and electricity, saying this would be yet "another sign of insensitivity".

In a statement signed by six members of the Committee, it said it was of the view that for as long as taxes collected on petroleum products constituted a major source of government revenue, the government could not claim that prices of petroleum products were being subsidised.

It said the CJA's position was backed by the fact that in 2003 and 2004, taxes on petroleum products accounted for 17.4 and 17.9 per cent respectively of domestic tax revenue.

In actual figures, in 2003 revenue from petroleum taxes was 2.323 trillion cedis while in 2004, a total of 3.1194 trillion cedis in taxes was collected on petroleum products.

The statement said from the 2005 budget statement, the government expected a revenue yield from petroleum levies of 3.9292 trillion or 18.6 per cent of domestic tax revenue.

The CJA said various government officials had presented different figures to explain its position of a subsidy.

It said the latest one by Dr Akoto Osei, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, added that 749 billion cedis was spent to service TOR's portion of interest on domestic debt.

"Clearly, the Ministry has shifted the goal post by conjuring a so-called debt service of TOR when it has never been the practice of government to desegregate interest paid on domestic debt on a sector-by-sector or enterprise-by-enterprise basis."

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