The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers Ghana (COPEC), has cautioned the National Petroleum Authority to withdraw with immediate effect the new Cylinder Recovery Margin levy or risk being hauled to court.
According to the Executive Director of COPEC, Duncan Amoah, the introduction is a perpetration of illegality on customers of LPG in the country.
The Cylinder Recovery Margin which was rolled out on Wednesday, April 1, requires consumers to pay an additional 13.5 pesewas per every kilogram of LPG they purchased ahead of the implementation of the Cylinder Recirculation Module (CRM) policy.
In effect, customers from the launch of the levy will no longer have to take an empty cylinder to be filled, but rather take their empty cylinder to an Oil Marketing Company (OMC) or Liquified Petroleum Gas Marketing Companies (LPGMC) and pick up an already filled cylinder.
Speaking on the new introduction, Thursday, April 2, 2020, Mr. Amoah argued that Act 691 of the NPA Act does not mandate the Authority to impose any levy without recourse to the Finance Ministry or Parliament.
“This is very interesting and I do think the NPA does not even itself appreciate the illegality that it is actually engaged in currently. For you to introduce any pump levy whatsoever, you need to go through the legal regime that one must follow. You need to go through the Ministry, that would need to go through Cabinet, that would need to get back to Parliament for the appropriate committee to also review, ask questions, critique before Parliament passes it into becoming a law. Act 691 that establishes the NPA has not mandated anywhere it will impose a new level of such magnitude without recourse to Parliament and that is why we find this not only interesting but bad that the entire NPA headed by a Lawyer is engaging in such illegality.”
“We have done our preliminary checks with members of Parliament, particularly, members of the mines and energy committee of Parliament, no such legislation has come before them for consideration. It is as surprising to many of them as it is to Ghanaians who currently are being charged additional 13.5 pesewas per every kilogram of LPG purchases per this NPA directive and I can authoritatively say I have gone through the entire Act 691 establishing the NPA, nowhere does it give the said mandate to impose levy on Ghanaians,” he opined.
According to Mr. Amoah, a trip to the fuel pump today showed that the NPA is not providing the service for which they are charging Ghanaians more and therefore such increment cannot be explained or justified in any way.
“I would also want to put on record that you cannot charge Ghanaians for a service you are not providing. If you are willing to take 13.5p per kilogram from all of us which you’re doing currently in the name of cylinder recovery margin yet when I went to buy LPG this morning, I had to carry my own bottle to the refill station, they filled for me and I took it back, my own bottle, nothing is being refurbished, nothing is being replaced or maintained, what are you charging that money for? That clearly will bring illegality to mind, as far as the illegality, the basis for charging that money in itself cannot be substantiated in any way.
He added, “It is shocking that at a time that you have not even engaged industry enough, you’ve not engaged Ghanaians on a full roll-out plan, you are already putting money ahead of this beautiful program. Clearly, the NPA is getting its acts all wrong and I do think that if by close of today they do not withdraw this obnoxious levy that they are burdening Ghanaians with, they will leave some of us no other option than to haul them before the law court to explain what mandate or laws give them the powers to introduce a new line of levy in the petroleum price buildup as has been established by parliament in years gone by.”