A former Chief Executive Officer of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), John that there is a high tendency that cartels within the petroleum industry will crop up during the introduction of the pricing regime and therefore it is important for the Authority to be alert because “we don’t have to take any chances with that.”
According to him, the NPA Act criminalizes cartelization because the framers of the Act knew very well that the development of cartels was highly possible, therefore, the Authority must effectively undertake its watchdog role.
From June 15, the NPA will no longer be involved in the pricing of petroleum products.
This means importers of the petroleum products – the BDCs and the suppliers of petroleum products will now bring in their products into the country at competitive prices and then sell to Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) at competitive prices.
The OMCs will then pass on the prices to the retailers at the pump.
The NPA has allayed fears that the public will be cheated, stating that it trusts the BDCs to price the products fairly.
Aside the issue of cartelization, Mr. Attafuah in an interview on Eyewitness News mentioned other challenging situations likely to emerge with the new development.
The former NPA boss said monopoly situations should be avoided.
He said it will be very risky to allow individuals or certain groups of people to dominate the petroleum sector which will restrict competition and eventually make Ghanaians “just pawns in the game.”
Mr. Attafuah thus urged the NPA “to ensure that no player in this field is given unfair advantage to the extent that it becomes a monopoly or we get cartels formed especially when politicians become the unseen hands with these players in the industry.”
Mr. Attafuah charged the NPA to be very transparent in licensing players in the petroleum industry.
He said “the issue of local content, the issue of infrastructural development of the various players must be looked at and done transparently so that we don’t run into any problems.”
He was convinced that all these problems could arise if politicians become owners of the BDCs.
This, he said, will result in a situation where “decisions may not be in the boardrooms but behind the scenes and therefore nobody gets to know what is going on but it’s just politicians deciding what to do with the industry so that they can make money.”
He said he is sure that the officials at the NPA and the Authority’s board are capable of ensuring that Ghanaians are fairly treated in the new pricing regime.
He nonetheless indicated that should the NPA fail in exercising its oversight responsibilities, Parliament’s committee on energy can play their role and ensure that they police the sector to ensure that we don’t get cheated along the line.