You’d have paid 10% more under Mahama – Amewu defends fuel prices
As the Minority in Parliament laces its boots to begin a nationwide tour to push for a reduction in fuel prices, Energy Minister, John Peter Amewu maintains that the government has managed the situation better than the John Mahama-led administration would have done.
Mr Amewu told journalists Thursday, that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) since assuming the reins of power 21 months ago, has reduced the Special Petroleum Tax (SPT) twice.
In March 2017, the 17.5% tax was slashed to 15% and in February 2018, it was reduced further to 13%.
The minister said if John Mahama was still president, “Ghanaians would be paying close to between 9% to 10% higher than the current prices”.
“Prices today would have been GHS5.54 for petrol and GHS5.55 for diesel,” he added. The prices for both products are currently GHS5.12, Mr Amewu said.
But the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) who introduced the SPT in 2014 says the tax has outlived its purpose and should be scrapped totally.
In 2014, the NDC government planned the year’s budget on a projected price for the country’s oil exports but toward the end of that year, the price of crude had plummeted drastically on the international market causing the Seth Tekpeh-led Finance Ministry to introduce the tax to plug the hole created.
The then NDC Member of Parliament for Madina, Alhaji Amadu Sorogho said the imposition was “rational”, arguing it was necessary for the government to look for revenues that could easily be collected.
Minority spokesperson on energy Adam Mutawakilu told Joy News in February 2018 that the prices of crude have gone up on the international market and demanded that the SPT be scrapped.
Mr Amewu however, says the decision to totally scrap the tax would be arrived at after review talks with the Finance Minister are finalised.
Mr Amewu also noted that some 11 agreements signed under President Mahama are being considered for cancellation.
He said the government is forced to pay an amount in excess of 50 million dollars for power projects that are not needed because of excess installed capacity.
Describing these agreements as “reckless”, Mr Amewu said the taxpayer is paying for what is not needed.
It will cost 402 million dollars to terminate the 11 agreements but it will cost government 586 million dollars yearly to stick to these deals.
Former Deputy Power Minister under John Mahama has, however, hit back at Mr Amewu on his claims that the excess power is not needed.
“If it is not needed why do they seek to extend the AMERI deal,” John Jinapor told the Mid-day news on Joy FM.
He noted that the NDC will respond to all the claims made by the Minister later.