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Ghana oil companies fail to pay $0.721 million

By Dasmani Laary in Accra
Posted on Monday, 8 August 2016 10:22

The Ghana Revenue Authority and Bank of Ghana 2016 reports also say licensed upstream companies paid $465,920 in 2015 compared to $907,501 in 2014, a 49 percent drop in revenue.

This is a very bad thing and I think it will affect government revenue

Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), a think tank, warned that the fall in revenue would lead to an upsurge in government borrowings.

“This is a very bad thing and I think it will affect government revenue”, head of policy at ACEP, Ishmael Ackah said. “Some are now going to raise funds to look for the oil, meanwhile, we have given them provisional licences.”

About 30 oil companies are registered in Ghana but only about half of them are operational.

Ackah said it was worrying that at the beginning of each year the government had to prepare a budget that factored in surface rentals and corporate tax as part of its projected revenues, yet oil companies failed to meet part of the bargain.

“[This] will force the government to borrow, which wouldn’t have been the case if we were dealing with credible companies,” he said.

Another think tank, Centre for Economic and Business Research demanded that licenses of defaulting companies must be revoked.

“We need to have a unified condition, so that conditions for company A should be same as B, so if A is unable to meet the conditions then the license is revoked from A and given to B,” Gordon Newlove Asamoah, an official from the think tank told local media.

The Ghana Revenue Authority report showed that some owners of the oil companies could not be traced, raising fears the money would never be recovered.

Erratum: An earlier edition of this piece said 9 oil companies in Ghana had failed to pay $721 million as surface rental charges. That figure was incorrect. The correct figure, published by Ghana’s Public Interest & Accountability Committee, is $0.721 million ($721,000). We do sincerely apologise for that oversight.

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