State agencies can’t trace Oranto/Stone Energy to collect $67,000 royalty owed Ghana

OilAn oil company that operated in the country and owes the Ghana government some money appears to have vanished into thin air, and it is not clear which government agency should find the company and retrieve the debt.

The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) announced during the launch of its annual report for 2015 that Oranto/Stone Energy owes the state an amount of $67,438.36 in royalties and surface rent since 2012, but the company can’t be found to pay the amount.

Two state agencies are locked in an argument as to which of them is responsible for going after the company – the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) which deals directly with oil companies is asking the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), the tax collecting agency to go after the company, but the GRA says by law, it doesn’t even collect the taxes.

A source at the GRA told, “we are not responsible for collecting taxes from oil companies, the taxes are collected by the GNPC and paid into an account, we only check to verify, that’s what the law stipulates.”

While the GNPC is expecting the GRA to look for Oranto/Stone to retrieve the debt, the GRA is also pointing at the GNPC to do that.

Meanwhile, nine companies in the upstream industry reportedly owe a total of $722,000 as at the end of 2015 – with applicable penalties.

PIAC therefore is urging that no effort should be spared to collect the Oranto/Stone Energy debt with the accumulated penalties of $3.46 million in accordance with Section 3(4) of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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