Ghana’s international reputation will suffer a dip if it fails to stop the illegal sale of petroleum products in the immediate term.
According to some industry watchers, the country could serve as an attractive destination for pirates as they would capitalize on the lax regime to perpetuate their illegal acts.
The caution comes days after the Association of Oil Marketing Companies warned that it will sack about 4000 workers as the businesses of its members are no longer profitable.
Their plight has been as a result of the impact of the activities of illegal traders of petroleum products.
The National Chairman of the General Transport Petroleum and Chemical Workers’ Union, Bernard Owusu tells Citi Business News the development will also be dire for the industry.
“This is very dangerous because, in the petroleum industry, rumour and quality are non-negotiable. When these things are allowed to continue in the country, what is going to happen is that those pirates that go out there with petroleum products will be coming into our country and that is very dangerous to our economy,” he observed.
Already the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has directed the halt in loading fuel at some portions of the Tema harbour as a result.
The Authority and its allied institutions are always expected to meet and decide on the way forward after a two-day ultimatum by the Oil Marketing Companies.
But Bernard Owusu wants the regulators to be tough in all its interventions.
“I understand the ministry is working on tracking vessels that convey these products but I think we should go beyond that and ensure that we have good security and network that will be working with personnel with integrity because there are a lot of money involved in this illegal trade,” he stated.
Banks’ NPLs to rise over illegal fuel trade
Meanwhile, the Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) of commercial banks is likely to worsen if the government fails to stop the illegal trade in the petroleum downstream sector.
According to the Association of Oil Marketing Companies (AOMCs), the development has made it difficult for their members to repay debts due to the low sales.
“It’s a very dire situation in that if this one continues we will not be able to service our debt obligation as we ought to because we rely on this sale of fuel to generate our revenue. So if the revenue is not forth coming it remains difficult to determine where you could get money to service your debt on a monthly basis,” the CEO of the AOMCs, Kwaku Agyeman Duah said on Business Today.