Petroleum Authority reduces smuggling of products by 93 per cent

By
Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA

Accra, Oct. 24, GNA – The National Petroleum
Authority (NPA) on Wednesday said the stringent measures it instituted to curb
smuggling of products has drastically reduced diversion from 30 million litres
last year to two million litres as at August, this year.

It said the reduction represented about 93 per
cent decline and saved the nation millions of Ghana Cedis, which would have
gone to private pockets.

Mr Hassan Tampuli, the Chief Executive Officer
of the NPA, who announced this at a stakeholders’ meeting of petroleum
downstream sector in Accra, said the collaboration between the Authority and
the security agencies had helped to impound 43 bulk road vehicles and canoes
for smuggling petroleum products.

He said some of the canoes impounded were
designed to carry about one million tonnes of fuel, while one canoe carried
about 120,000 litres of petroleum products.

He said the Authority had confiscated the
petroleum products and assured that it would make sure all the relevant taxes
and levies were paid to the government, while the impounded canoes were burnt
to serve as a deterrent to others.

He said a Committee was constituted in June
this year to review the culprits’ cases and to develop guidelines to curb
illegal fuel activities and propose measures for disposal of all confiscated
canoes and vehicles.

That notwithstanding, Mr Tampuli said, the
Authority was poised to offer protection to genuine businesses in the industry
and assured that it would work with all stakeholders to expose the fraudulent
ones, who were desperately trying to undermine the decency of the industry.

He said over the past year, the petroleum
downstream industry had undergone major revolution, which called for more
strategic approach to ensure efficient operations of the sector.

Therefore, he said, the Authority had
instituted stringent measures to curb illegal activities in the sector,
especially export of petroleum products to the neighbouring countries.

He announced that the high failure rate
amongst retail stations averaged 6.2 per cent 
and 4.9 per cent in 2016 and 2017 had been reduced to less than one per
cent as at July this year due to the stringent measures it instituted.

He said the Authority had discovered that some
petroleum products from Togo meant for transit to Mali were being dumped in
Sankase and Tatale in the northern and assured that it would collaborate with
the security agencies to arrest the perpetrators.

Mr Tampuli said it was refreshing that such
stakeholders’ engagement would help them to formulate and implement innovative
strategies and policies that would ensure the petroleum downstream industry
remained efficient and profitable while consumers received best value for
money.

He said the October 16-31 petroleum pricing
window saw some upward adjustment to petroleum products, which resulted in
public outcry and, therefore, entreated players in the industry to educate and
sensitise the public to understand the mechanisms of a deregulated market.

He said following the implementation of the
Price Deregulation Policy in July 2015, the responsibility of setting ex-pump
prices of petroleum products shifted from the NPA to petroleum service
providers- Bulk Oil Distribution Companies (BDCs) and Oil Marketing Companies
(OMCs).

Mr Tampuli said the only petroleum products
whose prices were still determined by the NPA included; residual fuel oil,
pre-mix fuel, aviation fuel, gas oil for the mines, marine gas oil and gas oil
rig.

He said prior to the implementation of the
price regulation in 2015, the Authority was mandated by the Regulation 14 of
L.I 2186 to issue to the petroleum service providers the petroleum product
price build-up sourced from prescribed petroleum pricing formula and published
same for every pricing window in the gazette and at least two national dailies.

He stated that post implementation of the
petroleum pricing, under Regulation 14 of L.I 2186, mandated the NPA to publish
the price build-up submitted by the petroleum service providers for every
pricing window on the Authority’s website.

Additionally, he said, the Authority published
daily price indicators of petroleum products, which showed the changes in the
key components of the price build-up such as the exchange rate and
international prices of petroleum products.

Mr Tampuli, therefore, assured the consuming
public that the falling prices of petroleum products on the international
market witnessed recently would be felt in the next pricing window.

“The NPA will no longer be able to determine
prices of petroleum products by just sitting in the office so when you hear
some civil society groups saying the NPA has not announced prices or they have
secretly smuggled prices at the pump, we must all take pains to address it,” he
advised.

The stakeholders meeting afforded the
opportunity to petroleum downstream players to dialogue, share and exchange
ideas on ensuring effective and efficient management of the sector to promote
economic growth.

It also created a platform for the NPA and
other stakeholders to disseminate industry information, trends and opportunities
to ensure the continuous growth of the downstream sector in accordance with
international best practices.

The event attracted captains of the industry
and representatives of key partners including; the Customs Division of the
Ghana Revenue Authority, Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited,
Chamber of Oil Distributors Board, Association of Oil Marketing Companies,
Ghana Cylinder Manufacturing Company and Tema Oil Refinery.

GNA

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