Chief Executive of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) Moses Asaga has warned oil marketing companies who adulterate their products they will have their fuel stations closed down.
He said upholding standards of quality is an important concern in the era of price liberalization of the petroleum sector.
The liberalization which has brought competition could also motivate unscrupulous Oil Marketing Companies to try and sell at cheap prices by sacrificing quality.
But speaking at the first-ever Ghana International Petroleum Conference in Accra, Mr. Asaga says, this will not be tolerated.
Explaining the processes in place to ensure standards are maintained, Asaga explained that once crude oil is ready for distribution, independent inspectors are called in to check.
Once the quality is verified, a dye is injected into petroleum products for distribution through Bulk Oil Distribution Companies and to Oil Marketing Companies.
The dye is to ensure that when random inspections are conducted, it can easily be detected if the product quality is suspicious, standard or failed.
Moses Asaga said the NPA is committed to protect the gains Ghana has made in deregulating the petroleum sector to allow private participation believed to improve efficiency in the sector.
He explained that Ghana has taken the bold step of removing subsidies considered a huge drain on government finances. It is also a politically-charged item because subsidies allow consumers to pay cheaper prices for products such as petrol, diesel, LPG and kerosene.
“This is what we have been used to for the last 50 years”.
He explained that subsidies especially on petrol were benefitting the middle-class instead of its real target- the poor.
Petrol products were also sold using wrong forex exchange rates which also heaped up more debts on government.
Ghana has had to clear more than $895million in petroleum subsidies, a proud Asaga revealed. Nigerian government, he said is struggling to clear $40billion in subsidies.
“We have taken the lead,” Asaga told a conference at the Alisa Hotel which had Finance Minister Seth Terpker, Petroleum Minister Emmanuel Kofi-Buah and Vice-President Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur delivering various speeches.
He said Ghana chose the most appropriate time to liberalise the market by announcing it at a time when prices on the international market were low.
This is to ensure that when private players begin fixing their own prices, it would reflect the low prices on the international scene.
“Timing is important” Asaga explained government strategy. Since prices were liberalized in July 2015, prices of petroleum products have fallen by nearly 30%.