NPA to meet over possible fuel price increase

Public Relations Officer of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has given indication officials of the petroleum industry regulator will meet this weekend to decide whether to increase the prices of fuel or maintain it.

There are speculations that Tuesday July 1, 2014, will see fuel prices go up by about 20% to enable oil distribution and marketing companies to recover the cost in procuring crude oil into the country as the fall in the value of the cedi against the US dollar has increased the cost crude oil import.

However, according to a B&FT report, NPA Public Relations Officer, Yaro Kasambata,  said on Friday the Authority is still uncertain about whether prices of fuel will go up or be maintained next week.

He however hinted that a hike in fuel prices as is being speculated cannot be ruled out.

‘Those who have speculated this thing [20% fuel price increase by July 1, 2014] are reading the market and examining the petroleum products prices that have been published. They may not be wrong that based on these figures and factors, prices of petroleum products could go up by this margin or that. This is simple arithmetic and anybody without the NPAs approval can predict fairly the margin that must be increased”, the B&FT quoted Kasambata in a report.

According to the NPA Spokesperson, NPA officials are “still collating figures and we will meet over the weekend. We will look at the overall effect of what we have and that will be the decider that on June 30th or July 1, prices should go up or stay flat.”

Yaro Kasambata says the meeting by NPA officials for a possible upward review of fuel prices has come about because some fuel stations in the country were hoarding the product in anticipation of a price increase.

“Where such cases exist, the police have assured that they will intervene and order the filling stations to sell to the public,’ he said.

Currently, Premium sells at GH¢2.73 per liter at the pumps while Diesel is sold at GH¢2.65 per litre.

Kerosene is also traded at GH¢2.61 a litre and GH¢2.87 a kilogramme for LPG. Gas Oil and premix fuel have been pegged at GH¢2.7 and GH¢1.25 a litre respectively.

Since the year began, prices of petroleum products have been adjusted upwards three times, which sums up to about 16 percent as a result of a fall in the cedis despite the strong intervention by the Central Bank in February.

The NPA, which adjusts prices fortnightly, has forecasted a weaker cedi in the next couple of months, implying more pain in store for consumers– who are also struggling with energy supply rationing.

Currently, business activities have virtually ground to a halt as acute fuel shortage has hit most parts of the country following government’s failure to pay bulk oil distribution companies (BDCs) several billions of dollars being subsidies on petroleum products since 2011.

BDCs have warned that government’s failure to pay up about US$1.5billion — a figure the Finance Ministry has disputed and pegged it around GH₵300million — could result in stocks that could last for about three days as their inability to raise letters of credits from the banks to pay suppliers could cut supplies.

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