The Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributing Companies (CBDCs) has expressed dissatisfaction with what it described as the unfair participation of government in the downstream of the oil sector.
According to the Chamber, government has instituted measures that are frustrating the BDCs but allow parastatals in the sector to thrive.
Senyo Hosi, Chief Executive of CBDC, in an interview with BUSINESS GUIDE said, “The problem we’ve had with government’s change in policy to become an active player in the industry has been the way it is participating. Clearly you have the absence of fairness. There are challenges with equity.”
Citing an example of unfairness on the part of government, he said under the deregulation policy, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) said Foreign Exchange (FX) would no longer be supplied to the BDCs.
He however said the Central Bank is supplying FX to parastatals such as BOST and GO Energy which compete with BDCs.
“We all know that the Central Bank’s FX is cheaper than the market FX. So if you are giving somebody cheaper FX and you are asking other people who are not parastatals to go into the market then you are creating a pricing bias,” Mr. Hosi said.
He stated that the zonalization policy of the government that has actually cut out the whole of the Northern sector for BOST, GOIL and GO Energy was unfair.
“In all it is disadvantageous to the private sector. The policies can be there but they should be fair.
“It’s a market space but every player has to play it fairly. We can’t expect to grow our economy constructively, effectively and sustainably if government expects to be extremely present at the operational level,” Mr. Hosi said.
BDCs Will Fight
He said BDCs would fight to ensure fairness and stay in business as well, stating “we are fighting and we will keep fighting for fairness. It will be a shame if BDCs are crashing under a given government.
“First of all BDCs are a construct of government policy so they should thrive. It behooves every government to ensure that BDCs thrive and go beyond the borders of the country. A lot of companies are growing and crossing borders into Ghana but how many companies is government helping to grow beyond the borders of Ghana. BDCs should be well nurtured for it to grow beyond the borders.”
High Fuel Prices
Meanwhile, Mr. Hosi has stated that BDCs cannot be blamed for the recent hikes in petroleum products, explaining that the new fuel prices reflect the impact the new taxes have had on the ex-pump price.
“The taxes are quite many and a number of them too get taxed on another tax so it has some extra impact,” he said.
By Cephas Larbi