The National Petroleum Authority, a regulator of petroleum products in the downstream, has launched an electronic cargo tracking system and the National Command Centre to help curtail the upsurge of disruptions in the delivery of petroleum products in the country.
Ghana loses about GHC200m every year due to illegal operations with regards to transportation of petroleum, our sources revealed.
The launch of the tracking system and the Command Centre, according to the Authority, became necessary after receiving countless complaints on diversion of petroleum by some drivers of Bulk Road Vehicles (BRV) to unapproved routes. The establishment of this system will help track all BRVs plying the routes of the country.
Commenting on this, the CEO of NPA, Mr Alhassan Tampuli said “some transport service providers exploited the system due to lack of capacity of the NPA to independently confirm the delivery of petroleum products to retail outlets. Indeed it was a common thing for service providers to deliver freight claims for delivery of petroleum products to distant locations when indeed it was delivered here in Accra. This cargo tracking system ends such a trend.”
Dr Mohammed Amin, Deputy Energy Minister, lamented on the rise of illegal smuggling of petroleum products in the downstream sector and therefore called for diversification of fuel transportation in the country.
Meanwhile, the Vice President, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia warned about culture of in-fighting among the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) in this era of digitization. He stressed on government’s commitment to digitize the economy to ensure transparency and efficiency in service delivery. He further hinted of digitizing premix fuel to check wastage and illegal smuggling. “The culture of a price war among the OMCs and the struggling of fuel under this regime of digitization cannot be accepted he said”.
The National Command Centre is charged with taking care of all retail outlets of the value chain of downstream petroleum activities in the country.
The war against illegal smuggling
The NPA in collaboration with its state agencies have initiated steps to clamp down on illicit fuel trade in the country. According to a report cited by Reportingoilandgas, the fight against illicit trade of refined petroleum products has saved the country nearly GHC1billion, which would have otherwise been lost through this nefarious activities.
The report further indicated that GHC952 million was saved from blocking illicit petroleum activities in 2018. This was a reversal from the losses made in the last three years (2015 – 2017) – through unaccounted stock and evasion of taxes.
The savings was a consequent of interventions by the NPA to curb this menace, according to the annual report of the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors (CBOD).
“In 2018, no loss related to unaccounted stocks was estimated as it was revealed that 574.25 million litres more than the official stocks saleable in the country were sold.
This indicates that smuggled stocks in the monitored depots must have been trapped as a result of the NPA’s regulatory interventions to curb the illicit trade of petroleum products and forced to be sold through official channels.
“This saved the nation GH¢797.49 million in taxes and GH¢154.93 million in regulatory margins yielding a total savings of GH¢952.42 million,” the report stated.
By Kwabena Tabiri
Reporting Oil & Gas