Following the revelations from the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), that huge amounts of pre-mix fuel meant for fisher-folk, loaded from the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) had been diverted for the past eight months, it has emerged that political party executives in the constituencies, profit hugely from the mismanagement of the distribution.
According to the Chairman of the National Inland Canoe Fishermen Council, Jacob Tetteh Ageke, it is unfair for the inland fishermen to be singled out for blame, when in most cases, they don’t even receive the fuel allocated to them.
“I don’t agree totally [that the diversion is only happening inland]. The diversion is happening across the country. The pre-mix is for fishermen, and they are supposed to handle it, but the diversion is happening in Ashaiman. Ghanaians are at risk because when they go to the fuel station, they don’t know what they are buying. There’s diversion inland and along the marine as well,” he said on Eyewitness News on Monday.
“For the inlands, where I represent, to be singled out is unfortunate. We the inland fishermen didn’t create the problem, the pre-mix is for us and we have to handle it.”
Citi News gathered from the NPA’s series of letters that, between January 2017 to October for instance, about 200 premix fuel consignments loaded from the Tema Oil Refinery, were not delivered to the intended destinations indicated on the invoices and Returns of the Oil Marketing Companies, OMCs.
Joseph Ageke claimed that local executives of whichever political party is in power or persons who claimed to have contributed to that party’s ascension to government, take possession of the fuel meant for the fisher-folk and sell it at exorbitant prices.
“We [fishermen] have been thrown out, the moment government changes, the pre-mix fuel is taken and given to party chairmen and businessmen. One person could come and say that they supported President Akufo-Addo to come into power so they are going to take over the pre-mix fuel and they indeed do so. There are communities that have no outboard motors which are taking pre-mix fuel. The fishermen are not diverting the pre-mix fuel. It’s the fuel dealers in Ashaiman and other places, party chairmen and foot-soldiers who are not fishing and have taken over the pre-mix fuel. It happened in NDC’s regime and it’s happening more in NPP’s regime,” he claimed.
“The fishermen have turned to NPP because Nana Akufo-Addo said that when he becomes President, he would give the pre-mix fuel to fishermen to handle, but that hasn’t happened. The party chairmen take it and sell it wherever they’ll make more money. The pre-mix business is one of the booming businesses in this country. A gallon of pre-mix fuel is sold from Gh¢7.20 up to Gh¢7.50.”
Shortage of fuel worries fishermen
Fisher-folk in the Western Region told Citi News that the supply of the product has not been regular since the beginning of January 2017.
They say the Nana Addo government started supplying the product on a good note in January, but the situation took a nosedive when various scheduled date were violated.
The Western Region since January 2017 has had 189,000 gallons of premix fuel diverted 14 times, mainly to Tema. These diversions were done on a small scale in the first half of the year, but took a dramatic turn in July up until October.
‘Over 200 cases’
The National Petroleum Authority’s BRV Tracking System, recorded over 200 instances of diverted premix fuel between January and October 2017, but the regulator has failed to sanction the perpetrators.
It has instead been writing letters repeatedly to the National Premix Committee, which says it has no power to prosecute or entirely check the distribution of the product.
By: Edwin Kwakofi/citifmonline.com/Ghana