Business News of 2014-06-06

Saltpond Offshore has $13 million tax credit - CEO

Saltpond Offshore Producing Company Limited (SOPCL), a fully Ghanaian-owned oil producing company, has a corporate tax credit of 13 million dollars, contrary to speculations in the media peddled by an upstart non-governmental organisation at a World Bank meeting on petroleum revenue management in Accra.

The tax credit accrued to SOPCL from capital allowance and tax compensation based on financial statements prepared by the Company and audited by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Mr Quincy Sintim-Aboagye, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), told the Ghana News Agency in an interview.

The CEO said the Company has paid royalties and rentals up-to-date, as well as the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and Social Security & National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributions of its workers, adding. "with regard to our tax obligations, we are doing great."

The Tuesday June 3, edition of the Business and Financial Times (B&FT) reported that one Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, Executive Director of Africa Centre for Energy Policy, a non-governmental organisation, had told the meeting, "Saltpond Offshore has defaulted in its surface rental and corporate income tax liabilities to the State."

According to the publication, Dr Joseph Kwadwo Asenso, Economist at the Energy, Oil and Gas Unit of the Finance Ministry, rebutted the claim, and said SOPCL had been paying royalties and rentals "so it is not only royalties, they've been paying surface rents as well".

When GNA sought for further clarification, Mr Francis Kofi Andoh, Deputy Commissioner of Communications and Public Affairs at the National Revenue Authority, said “corporate tax is charged on profit made, so if a company is not making profit it does not have to pay corporate tax."

He referred to the tax laws of the country and said, "you do not pay tax on losses." Mr Sintim-Aboagye appealed to the media and other citizens to seek information on the company before coming out. "We have nothing to hide, we are prepared to open our books to all interested parties.

"When you continuously peddle falsehood about our company, it becomes difficult to attract investors to expand its operations and make it profitable. If we make money it stays here, but if foreigners make money they take it away. Why should we run down our own company?" He asked.