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Business News Mon, 15 Mar 2021

Petroleum price increase, shocking and disappointing - COPEC

The Chamber for Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) has described as disappointing, government's plans to increase the prices of petroleum products in the country.

Presenting the 2021 budget Statement and Economic Policy on Friday, March 12, the Caretaker Finance Minister, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu announced government's intention to adjust petroleum prices upwardly, news that was met with disdain by many of the stakeholders.

"I should note that on the basis of existing world crude oil prices, the implementation of the two proposed levies for sanitation and pollution as well as to pay for excess capacity charges, would result in a 5.7% increase in petroleum prices at the pump," Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu announced.

According to him, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused additional health spending that far exceeds the government's annual budget for health.

He also announced the suspension of the vehicle income tax for trotros and taxis.

The move, Osei Kyei Mensa Bonsu said is to have a cascading effect on transportation fares under its tax relief programme.

According to him, small businesses will enjoy the suspension of income tax stamp payments, adding that a 30% corporate income tax relief for hotels, restaurants, travel, and tours, as well as the arts, entertainment, and education sectors.

He said a "waiver of penalty and interests on accumulated tax arrears up to December 2020 to reduce cash flow challenges."He noted that the government is introducing a COVID-19 Health Levy of 1% on Vat, Flat Rate Scheme (VFRS), and a 1% on National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) as part of revenue measures to help the economy recover.

But in reaction, the Executive Secretary of  COPEC, Duncan Amoah, has lamented the decision by government.

He said, "he said if you consider that Ghanaians have had six spots of increases within the past two months and we're expecting government's proposal or plans on stabilising fuel prices for them only to be greeted with new taxes sanitation and pollution and then the addition of 20% for ESLA, it is not just shocking but disappointing, to say the least, and we think that Parliament should do anything within their powers to block this proposition from the Finance Minister."
Source: ghanaguardian.com
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