The Chief Executive of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, has commended security agencies and other stakeholders operating at the Ports for their effective surveillance role in combating illegal bunkering and smuggling of petroleum products.
He said the NPA would continue to engage and collaborate with the Police, Navy and Marine Police to come up with pragmatic measures and solutions to nib the menace in the bud.
Dr Abdul-Hamid pointed out that the activities of Bunkers and smugglers were sabotage to the economy as they did not pay taxes and it was very difficult to determine the quality of Petroleum products smuggled into the country.
He said everything would be done to stem the unhealthy practice in the country.
The NPA Chief Executive Officer said this during a press briefing in Takoradi as part of his familiarization tour of the Western Region.
The tour, which is the last of his regional tours, took him to the Atuabo Gas Plant, Some Petroleum depots, Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Sekondi Naval Base, the commands of the Police and Marine Police as well as a courtesy call on the Regional Minister, Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah.
He said the security agencies had shown a great commitment to the situation and had over the years made some arrests and prosecuted the culprits.
The CEO, who took the media through the establishment of NPA and its core mandate, said the Authority was established by an Act of Parliament (NPA Act 2005,Act 691) to regulate the Petroleum downstream industry in Ghana.
He said as a regulator the Authority ensured that the industry remained efficient, profitable, fair and at the same time ensured that consumers received value for money.
Touching on petroleum taxes, Dr Abdul-Hamid said the government collected only GHC1. 90 as taxes on a litre of fuel, noting that the amount was insignificant to the individual consumer given the current frequent rising cost of fuel on the international market.
The CEO, however, noted that abolishing such taxes amid the current challenges would be a loss to the government, “removing those taxes would amount to a loss of more than GHC 4 billion of government’s revenue.”
He said NPA would continue to play its regulatory role effectively and ensure that price margins were reduced and called on Ghanaians to sacrifice in these trying times to help lift the economy.
Dr Abdul-Hamid commended the Oil Marketing Companies (OMC) for making sacrifices to reduce their profit to cushion the people and urged Ghanaians to appreciate the gesture and to also make some sacrifices, stressing that the fuel price hike was a global situation and not restricted to Ghana.
On the Cylinder Recirculation Module, Dr Abdul-Hamid said the module would start when the NPA was able to establish enough bottling plants.
He said currently it was only the Blue Ocean bottling plant that was in operation, which he noted, could not provide enough bottles to smoothly kick start the programme on a large scale.
He said two more companies, including GOIL, had been licensed to establish bottling plants and that the Cylinder Recirculation Module would soon begin full operation.