Minister orders freeze on new licenses to fuel stations
Mr Mark Owen Woyongo, Minister of Defence, on Monday directed the Navrongo Municipal Assembly, to as a matter of urgency, halt the granting of license to proprietors seeking to operate fuel stations along the Navrongo-Paga Highway, and any other part of the Municipality.
There is mountain suspicion of these fuel stations smuggling huge quantities of the products across to neighbouring countries, including Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali, for high profits.
The Minister contended that there were several areas where the business community could extend their business interests in the municipality, and urged the Assembly to repackage its investment opportunities and invite them to invest.
Mr Woyongo gave the directive when he addressed the Assembly at its sitting in Navrongo, and said the six-kilometre distance from Navrongo to Paga, has recently seen about 20 fuel stations licensed to operate within that stretch with some more under construction, adding that the smuggling element is craving the business community to direct their investments there.
He questioned how fuel stations could discharge and sell two tankers within two days and said apart from directing the Assembly to stop issuing licenses to prospective proprietors, the security apparatus must be vigilant at ensuring that smuggling of fuel to neighbouring countries was checked.
The Defence Minister who is also the Member of Parliament for Navrongo Central, further bemoaned the collection of revenue by the Assembly, and described as ridiculously low, property rate charged by the Assembly.
The Navrongo Assembly charges GH¢20 per annum for property rate.
Mr Woyongo, therefore, suggested to the Assembly to charge about GH¢200 annually, to ensure that it gets enough revenue to undertake development projects, and not solely rely on government for allocation of common fund for the execution of development projects.
The Minister who later inspected some flood-prone areas in the Navrongo township, cut the sod to start the construction of five culverts valued at about GH¢196,000 within the flood-prone communities in advance, to prevent the recurrence of flood when the rains get serious by June.
He called on officials of the Navrongo Municipal Assembly to look for innovative ways of generating revenue to boost their development efforts.
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