There have been at least 200 cases of premix fuel diversions in the country since January 2017, indicating serious inefficiencies in the regulation of the petroleum sector.
The National Petroleum Authority (NPA), only appears to be issuing series of letters to the National Pre-mix committee, urging them to look into the matter, and ensure sanity in the distribution of the product, instead of cracking the whip on the offenders.
[contextly_sidebar id=”dtQqXxurkWQlwIjDWhQCKJegal2B13IA”]Since February 2017, when the NPA drew the Premix committee’s attention to the development, the instances of the crime has seen a gradual increase from the 12 cases in January to over 80 in September.
The series of correspondence sighted by Citi News indicated that, after being loaded from the Tema Oil Refinery intended for consumers outside Accra, most of the product was sold to retailers within Tema and Accra for industrial purposes.
“Information from the Authority’s BRV Tracking System and Returns submitted by Oil Marketing Companies for May 2017, shows that in certain instances, premix fuel loaded from the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), were not delivered to its intended destinations as indicated on the invoices and Return of the OMCs,” one of the letters from the NPA said.
“It was also noted that, in most cases, officials of the Landing Beach Committee (LBCs) of these intended destinations had signed and stamped the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) Delivery forms as having received the product. This constitutes misrepresentation of facts of the delivered to the UPPF,” it added.
It is unclear why the NPA, which has the power to prosecute, has chosen to be writing letters for all these months when the illegality still continues.
Pre-mix fuel diversion: We can’t punish perpetrators – Committee
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the National Pre-mix Fuel committee, Nii Lantey Bannerman, has told Citi News his outfit does not have the power to sanction persons who divert subsidized premix fuel meant for fishermen to other areas to be sold to industries.
According to him, only the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) can sanction or withdraw the licenses of the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) who perpetuate such acts.
OMCs making abnormal profit from diversions
The government is spending several millions of cedis subsidizing the cost of premix fuel for fishermen, who are buying it at Gh7.20 pesewas per gallon.
Per Citi News’ calculations, the diversions from January to October alone, has cost the country about 7 million cedis.
However, there are reports that those diverting the product are selling it to industries about two times the price, thereby creating artificial shortages in the fishing communities, and denying fishermen their due.
Below is a list of instances of pre-mix fuel diversion
Fishing industry collapsing
This is happening at a time when fishing communities in need of the fuel hardly get access to it due to its shortage and high cost in their respective areas.
The lack of the product in these communities affect the activities of fisherfolks and eventually leading to fewer catches, allowing excess importation of fish and fish products from other countries.
We can’t punish perpetrators – Committee
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the National Pre-mix Fuel committee, Nii Lantey Bannerman, has said his outfit does not have the power to sanction persons who divert subsidized premix fuel meant for fishermen to other areas to be sold to industries.
According to him, only the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) can sanction or withdraw the licenses of the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) who perpetrate such acts.
By: Jonas Nyabor/citifmonline.com/Ghana