The Parliamentary Select Committee on Food and Agriculture has advised the government to change its mode of supplying pre-mix fuel to the fishing communities.
Instead of using the landing beach committees, the committee has recommended to the government to supply the fuel to regular fuel stations with standard measurement pumps and record-keeping skills who will then dispense it to the fishermen.
This is to help cut down on the incidence of fuel diversion which comes at a high cost to the public purse.
The committee made these recommendations when the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development appeared before it to justify its 2018 budget estimates.
Reduction in landing committees
The committee also called for the need to cut down on the number of landing beach committees that operate along the Volta Lake as another way of curbing the menace.
It observed that all the landing beach committees along the lake represented island towns whose consumption of fuel were very minimal.
These committees, however, request individual supply of pre-mix fuel and this, according to Parliament, leads to oversupply and subsequent diversion.
It is, therefore, asking the government to combine all the committees on the islands into one and provide them with a minimum amount of the pre-mix fuel.
It indicated that all the islands combined would need just about four to six trucks, constituting about 81,000 litres.
The committee further pointed out that fuel to the islands along the Volta River should also be properly monitored and limited to market areas where pre-mix fuel was usually needed.
69.3 million litres diverted
According to the National Pre-mix Fuel Secretariat, 5,134 trucks of fuel, representing 69.3 million litres, had been distributed to 292 landing beach committees in the country as of September 2017.
Out of the 5,134 trucks distributed, 167 trucks, representing 3.25 per cent, were diverted.
The National Pre-mix Fuel Secretariat explained to Parliament that it depended solely on its operations officers to monitor trucks carrying pre-mix and followed up on all pre-mix fuel diversion reports.
It said reports mostly received from the landing beaches indicated that the pre-mix fuel dispensed had been received, while the National Petroleum Authority’s (NPA’s) reports indicated a diversion.
Connivance between OMCs and landing beaches
The conflicting report from the landing beaches and the NPA, according to the committee, indicated a possible connivance between the oil marketing companies (OMCs) and the landing beach committees.
The committee was informed that all the OMCs who had been confirmed to have engaged in the diversion had been identified and the NPA had applied the necessary sanctions to them to ensure that they did not continue such acts.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development has also requested the NPA to provide it with the vehicle tracking systems to monitor the trucks since the diversion reports only get to the ministry two months after the event has taken place.