The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has launched a Bulk Road Vehicle (BRV) tracking scheme and special handbook on Bulk Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) storage installations.
The BRV Tracking System consists of a Global Position System (GPS), sensors and web-based monitoring application software.
It is expected to help address challenges such as product theft and compromised quality and fraudulent freight claims associated with the transportation of petroleum products across Ghana via BRVs.
The Handbook, on the other hand, seeks to guide the design, installation and operation of LPG storage facilities nationwide.
Speaking at the launch recently in Accra under the theme: ‘Fueling Ghana’s Economy Through Transparent Fuel Supply Chain,’ the Ag. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NPA, Alhassan Tampuli, indicated that the introduction of the BRV Tracking Scheme was a demonstration of NPA’s commitment to improving standards and controls in the distribution of petroleum products in the petroleum downstream industry.
He said, “All sectors of the economy can benefit from an efficiently managed downstream oil sector that delivers the petroleum products in the right quantity and at the quality required at relatively least cost.”
According to him, “Adequate and reliable transport service for the petroleum downstream sector is essential for economic development.”
“The Authority, through the Primary Distribution Margin (PDM) and the Unified Petroleum Price Fund (UPPF), finances and manages the freight cost associated with the primary and secondary transportation of petroleum products in the country.”
There are more than 3,500 registered BRVs in the petroleum downstream industry, transporting 98% of the volume of petroleum products moved within the country, said Mr. Tampuli.
He said that “this mode of distributing fuel is beset with numerous challenges, including transit product shortages and false haulage claims.”
Due to the absence of an effective tracking system, he noted, petroleum service providers exploited the lack of capacity of the UPPF Secretariat to independently confirm the delivery of petroleum products to the retail outlets and subjected the Fund to abuse through the presentation of false claims for cost incurred for the transportation of petroleum products.
“It was common knowledge for service providers to present freight claims for the delivery of petroleum products to Tamale and locations in the northern part of the country while in actual fact the products were delivered to Accra and its environs.”
“It was estimated that the revenue loss as a result of these fraudulent practices amounted to 12.3% of annual freight paid. In 2014, the projected revenue loss was about GH¢43 million. This situation threatened the sustainability of the Fund,” he said.
Mr. Tampuli indicated that “since the introduction of the Scheme, revenue loss as a result of false freight claims has reduced from 12.3% in 2014 to 2.3% of total freight paid as at December 2016. Savings made are in excess of GH¢34 million per year.”
He said more work must be done to ensure that the 2.4 percent false freight claims, which he said represented an amount of about GH¢8 million, was cleared.
Parliament in January 2017 passed into law the National Petroleum Authority (Bulk Road Vehicle Tracking and Volume Monitoring) Regulations Legislative Instrument (L.I 2251).
Minister of Energy, Boakye Agyarko, in a statement read on his behalf at the launch, said government was committed to ensuring the regular supply of petroleum products to all parts of the country through a cost-effective and efficient distribution system, calling for the development of the other transport networks such as railways to aid in the transportation of bulk oil products.
He also urged players in the download stream petroleum industry to take safety measures very seriously to prevent unnecessary destruction of human lives and properties.
By Melvin Tarlue