Posted: Saturday 5th July 2014 at 19:06 pm

There is nothing like 100 per cent availability of fuel – NPA boss

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National Petroleum Authority (NPA) Chief Executive Officer, Moses Asaga has noted that there is nothing like a 100 per cent when it comes to the availability of fuel.

He was asked on Joy FM/MultiTV’s Saturday Current Affairs programme, Newsfile, when to expect a 100 per cent availability of the commodity as parts of the country face severe shortage for more than a week now.

He stated ‘well, there is no system that is always hundred per cent. When we talk of availability; a good availability is always around 85 per cent.’

He was optimistic that by Wednesday, ‘we should be hitting the 80 to 85 per cent availability.’

According to him, the anomaly has recovered tremendously with availability improving dramatically and so the public should allay their fears of what has been described as panic buying.

The situation, he mentioned, was motivated by assumptions that the price of fuel was pending possible increment. People, therefore, bought more than they used to.

Mr. Asaga explained further that at the time of the shortage, availability in Accra was only 11 per cent but has now shot up to almost 60 per cent.

Noting, there have been continued efforts to discharge more at the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation (BOST) Company Limited terminal and all fuel trading depots across the country.

He indicated that the whole problem emanated from the liquidity in the system because the Bulk Distribution Companies (BDCs) were unable to secure Letters of Credence with the banks over the weekend the shortage started. It started on a Friday.

‘And once it’s a weekend, the effective date for the LCs to be opened would have been Monday and once you open LCs on Monday, then you start discharging the product from Tuesday,’ he said.

He claimed government in the last two to three years has been subsidizing the expump price and it was supposed to pay the accrued debt.

Even though the government was yet to defray the arrears on subsidies and forex losses it owed the BDCs, he thought going forward as ‘Ghanaians, we need to look at whether we prefer subsidies with this kind of occasional shortages or we want to pay moderate prices and get it regularly. And if you look at the history and performance of the NPA, we have always made fuel available on the market and I think that our success and availability record about 80 to 90 per cent show that every time, you get fuel on the market except occasional hiccups like we have.’

Mr. Asaga continued that there has not been any increment from June 16 to date and as a result, ‘we remain flat. The subsidy on premium is GHc36 million and then the subsidy on gas oil which is diesel, is GHc38 million. So if you add up product-by-product, for just this period that we did not increase, government’s subsidy is GHc87.3 million.’

He said there could be a price review getting to the third or fourth quarters of the year.

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