Sanction Defaulting OMCs – MP


Paul Apraku Twum Barimah

GOVERNMENT HAS been called upon to sanction Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) which have defaulted in paying their petroleum taxes.

Member of Parliament for Dormaa East,  Paul Apraku Twum Barimah, who made this known, said the amount, which stands at GH¢650 million, ought to be recovered, and thus called on Parliament to assist government and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to make this happen.

He also called on the Parliamentary Select Committee on Mines and Energy to assist government by hauling the OMCs before the committee to answer questions and provide a way forward as to how they would be paying their debts to the country.

According to him, government needed a lot of money to undertake developmental projects such as roads, schools and hospitals, among others, adding taxes were key elements or drivers for development.

Mr. Twum Barimah further noted that closure of OMCs centres of operation, seizure of their assets and prosecution of their managers and directors would also mount pressure on them to settle their debts to government.

The Auditor General of Ghana, in its 2021 report, uncovered a high level rot among the OMCs.

A report released by the Auditor General’s Department in 2020 made similar allegations against some 28 OMCs which failed to honour GH¢226,942,904.00 taxes on petroleum products they lifted from the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) between July 2018 to December 2019.

The report said the OMCs failed to comply with Section 104 of the Customs Act 2015 (Act 891).

The report blamed the GRA for failing to collect tax revenue, apply measures and sanction the defaulting OMCs.

“Included in this tax irregularity was GH¢33,675,044 due from ten Oil Marketing Companies who failed to pay taxes on petroleum products lifted at TOR between November 2016 and November 2017,” the report stressed.

It recommended to the Commissioner of the Customs Division to recover those monies without any further delays, but not much has been done since, as the problem keeps mounting.

“Over the past few years, the fight against tax evasion in Ghana has become high on the agenda of the President, Nana Akufo-Addo.  This has been motivated by a deepening belief that good quality governance is essential for sustained economic development,” the MP said.

He said the GRA had been struggling to develop mechanisms that discourage tax evasion. He, therefore, called on the GRA, to sit up and collect the taxes to help government develop the country.