Subject unreported ¢915m ESLA receipts to forensic audit – CBOD
The Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors (CBOD) is calling for a forensic audit to be conducted into the unreported GH¢915 million ESLA receipts raised by the Chamber in its 2017 industry report.
The call comes on the heels of a statement issued by the ESLA Plc that refused CBOD’s claims, and attributed the unreported receipts to tax exemptions and levies enjoyed by some institutions.
The statement, though admitting that CBOD’s data indicated the precise volumes of petroleum products consumed, stressed that “they cannot in their entirety be used for the computation of taxes and levies as they do not discount the volume of petroleum products that are eligible for levy and tax exemptions by law”.
However CBOD, in a statement copied to Energy Ghana, retorted that it was not privy to any such exemptions granted to any industry without the ESLA Act and “does not deny the possibility of same.”
Moreover, the chamber indicated that the taxes chargeable presented in the NPA report did not exclude diesel for mining as the ESLA had said.
“By this statement, we request that all exemptions granted be made public,” the statement, signed by theCEOof CBOD, said.
It expressed that “to suggest that the unreported GH¢915million, that is 14.2% of all ESLA receipts, for 2016 and 2017 are due to exemptions is serious and must be a subject of public interest.
“Such magnitude of exemptions also provides an avenue for tax evasion and the perpetuation of the illegal trade under the guise of industry exemptions,” it added.
The Chamber also noted that ESLA Plc “has no capacity to independently assess and validate the accuracy of the ESLA reports submitted to Parliament, as not all ESLA receipts are assigned to the ESLA Plc.”
Consequently, the CBOD advised the ESLA Plc to be mindful of its integrity of the energy bond scheme, stay within its mandate and work without political interference.
“ESLA Plc is neither the collector or reporter of ESLA receipts nor the mouthpiece for the government agencies from 2016 to date. We do not find it in ESLA’s place to speak to revenue leakages in respect of smuggling, export dumping or transfer pricing,” the statement said.
CBOD, according to the statement, believed that an independent public enquiry as well as a forensic audit of the ESLA receipts for 2016 and 2017 was necessary to ensure that the country had not been “short-changed by petroleum service providers and/or corrupt officials in the various government agencies.”
The audit is also expected to relate consistencies or otherwise of the volumes procured by Bulk Distribution Companies (BDCs), movements from depots, liftings of Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs), Ghana Revenue Authority reports as well as exemptions.
The Chamber of Bulk Distributors gave the assurance that it was not their intention to reduce confidence in the energy bonds. However, it instead desired to promote responsibility of duty-bearers to increase that confidence as they were working assiduously to guarantee its success.