36 Oil marketing companies owe NPA GH¢193m
A total of 36 oil marketing companies (OMC) owe the National Petroleum Authority some GH¢193 million.
About 80 per cent of the money is owed by eight out of the 36 companies.
Some of the OMCs have also failed to renew their licences for over two years, including other infringements, as a result of which their licences had been revoked.
The Chief Executive Officer of the NPA, Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, who disclosed this, said his outfit was working in collaboration with the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to retrieve all monies that were accrued from margins, levies or taxes on fuels which had not been accounted for by the OMCs.
Dr Mustapha, who was addressing the press in Accra yesterday on the topic: “Petroleum downstream: Retrospect and prospect,” assured that “EOCO is at their heels and every dime will be retrieved”.
The CEO said previously, the NPA had given the OMCs a payment plan to settle their indebtedness over a certain period of time, but that with the introduction of an Enterprise Relational Data Management System (ERDMS), which allowed product loadings to be done electronically, that leniency in payment had since been scrapped.
“You have to be authorised by the ERDMS to load products and, therefore, if you are deactivated by the system, you will no longer be able to load petroleum products. Now we are very intolerant of people raking up margins over a long period of time.
“Once you accumulate margins more than once, you are taken off the system”, he said.
Dr Abdul-Hamid said the petroleum downstream was an important industry to the economy as it contributed about GH¢60 billion to the country’s GDP, representing 11 per cent of the GDP.
He, however, expressed concern that the downstream was bedevilled with issues of illegal fuels (poor quality) and fraudulent unified petroleum price fund (UPPF) claims that were instituted to ensure people bought fuel at the same price across the country.
The CEO said his outfit had since put in place security measures to deal with those challenges, including testing of the wholesomeness of fuel at the pumps by personnel of its quality assurance directorate.
On the Gold4Oil programme, Dr Abdul-Hamid said the downstream petroleum sector previously required $400 million monthly to import petroleum products, thus, putting a lot of pressure on the cedi.
The programme, he said, was, therefore, to provide consumers with lower fuel prices while dealing with the depreciation of the cedi.
The CEO said the policy would last for a year after which there would be a review to determine the way forward.
Currently, he said the NPA was in consultation with the association of OMCs to come up with criteria for the distribution of the next consignment of petroleum products under the programme.
Per the criteria, the top 25 OMCs which distributed petrol and diesel in 2022 to not less than 45 retail outlets across the country would receive the products to ensure that the impact of the programme was felt by consumers across the nation.
The country has so far received three cargoes under the programme, comprising 41,000 metric tonnes (MT) of diesel in January.
Another 40,000MT of diesel and 35,000MT of petrol have also arrived and were being discharged.
Dr Abdul-Hamid further said that the government was pursuing a vision to make the country a petroleum hub for which reason a Petroleum Hub Development Corporation Act had been passed by Parliament.