The Chamber of Petroleum
Consumers Ghana (COPEC) has asked government to prioritize the hedging of oil
prices in order to protect Ghanaians from any undue fuel price hikes.
According to the chamber, this
strategy will cushion the country in future, should the global oil markets get
volatile as a result of the US-Iran tension.
Oil prices spiked and stock
markets opened lower last week after a US drone strike killed Iranian
major-general Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds force, in a major
escalation of hostility between Washington and Tehran.
Brent Crude rose 3.8 per cent
– $68.87 on the day of the strike.
For analysts, in the immediate
aftermath of the strike, a sustained rise in oil prices would have pushed up
prices for consumers at the pumps and increased costs for businesses.
Convener of COPEC, Duncan
Amoah, said hedging of oil prices was critical in protecting the interest of
Ghanaian businesses and the general public.
“Iran controls the Strait of
Hormuz, a rout that a lot of oil transporters can’t do without. Now, if they
decide to block the strait, expect oil prices to rise significantly. The
government may, therefore, need to plan ahead and put in place a forecast plan
that says that things could degenerate in the gulf and we will mitigate it with
this and that measures. If we don’t put in place any strategic plans, we may be
in for some tricky and dangerous times,” Amoah said.
A week after the killing of
the Iranian general, oil prices contrary to expectations have tumbled to around
US$65.48 a barrel, after President Donald Trump signaled tensions with Iran are
easing, reducing fears of a deeper conflict between the two nations.
Duncan Amoah, however,
believes the implication and impact of a possible hike in oil prices on
businesses, trotro drivers and other Ghanaians cannot be overlooked.
“It is not something that the government itself can afford. So, the government will need to plan ahead, gauge what is happening in the Middle-East and put in measures that can mitigate whatever the outcome may be,” he said.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri