The lethargic attitude to numerous alerts by the Association of Oil Marketing Companies (AOMCs) for a regulatory intervention in the illegal sale of petroleum products has led to the escalation of such nefarious activities with its attendant heavy toll on the local petroleum marketing industry.
The Association has consequently called on government to within 48 hours “stamp out” the menace with all the authority at its disposal to forestall another revenue loss to the state.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, Industry Coordinator of the OMCs, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Duah described as “alarming” the 19 percent drop in volume of legitimated petroleum products in February, 2017.
“It is estimated that if this issue is not stopped now and the trend continues, government will be losing over GhS1 billion by the end of this year. We have indeed witnessed a volume drop by 19% in February, 2017.
Last year, the state lost nominal tax/levies revenue of about Ghc850Million as a result of a huge drop in the sale of legitimate petroleum products by OMCs by about 9 percent, when it ought to have rather increased by at least 3 percent.”
The Association says it has engaged the relevant agencies on countless occasions adding, “Whilst these relevant bodies keep assuring us they are working on addressing the issues, these unscrupulous people keep escalating their activities on daily basis in broad day light with impunity, in a manner that defies logic and destroys the legitimate businesses of our members.”
Explaining the modus of the illegal act, Agyeman-Duah said the operators illegally divert export products to the domestic market, illegally discharge or dump petroleum products on the market from uncustomed vessels/boats, illegal diverting non-taxed industrial products for sale as petrol, etc.
These irresponsible individuals and entities also bypass the requisite quality assurance checks by the Ghana Standards Authority, resulting in the dumping of low quality fuel on the market.
The downstream petroleum industry deregulation policy was implemented in June, 2015. The policy was to allow all Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) to announce their ex-pump prices for petroleum products.
A release signed by NPA Chief Executive at the time, Moses Asaga announcing the commencement of the policy stated, “In line with the deregulation policy, the NPA will monitor the application of the Prescribed Petroleum Pricing Formula to ensure that all Petroleum Service Providers apply the formula in the right way and defaulters will be duly sanctioned.”
Former Minister for Petroleum, Emmanuel Armah Kofi-Buah also said, “Government’s decision to deregulate the petroleum sector will compel oil importers and dealers to fix their own prices at cheaper rates as buyers will want to buy from importers, whose prices are cheaper compared to others.
But Agyeman-Duah maintains the unregulated activities of these operators, which subtly started in 2016 and resurfaced after the elections, remain a threat to legitimate businesses, cause unwarranted job losses and pose serious safety concerns and threat to national security.
He alleged that the regulators know the identities of the culprits and has expressed the Association’s readiness to collaborate with government.
The Association further requests the President to intervene to get all the bona fide agencies and institutions involved to deploy the full might of their mandate to bring this to an end once and for all.