The National Petroleum Authority, together with the various security agencies, have clamped down on fuel smuggling in the Upper East Region, Regional Manager of the NPA, Bashiru Natogma, has disclosed.
He stated that some years back, smuggling of fuel to neighbouring countries such as Togo and Burkina Faso was a rampant development which was a great source of worry to the NPA.
He said: “Because of the effective collaboration between the NPA and the security agencies, this illegal activity is now a thing of the past in all border communities and towns.”
Mr Natogma was speaking during an engagement organised by the NPA for some selected journalists in Bolgatanga, at which officials briefed the media on the operations of the NPA in the region as well as fuel supply and availability in the country.
He said communities such as Pindaa, Bonia and Nania Field, among others where the illegal fuel trading activity was rife, had turned into ghost towns since the illicit fuel trade had been eradicated.
He noted that security agencies were on high alert on a daily basis and were patrolling such places, which had made the trade unattractive to those involved, leading to its eventual stoppage.
Mr Natogma stated that the NPA was committed to ensure the illicit trade did not flourish again, as it would deprive Ghana of the needed revenue as well as the quality of fuel products to be consumed by consumers.
He stressed, “I wish to assure you that with measures put in place under the leadership of the Chief Executive Officer, Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, we will make conscious efforts to ensure that the gains made are consolidated.”
Touching on the recent closure of 16 fuel reseller outlets, he announced that owners of some of them had begun the process to regularise their operations, saying “the others who fail to do so will have their establishments decommissioned.”
He advised members of the public who suspected cheating after buying fuel against confronting the attendants, saying “as a customer it is not right to argue or confront fuel attendants on suspected cheating.”
Rather, he urged them to immediately report to the NPA for immediate action to be taken, since confronting them publicly would make them tamper with the evidence needed to address their complaints.
He noted that dealing with suspected cheating at the pump was evidence-based and that immediately a consumer confronted them, and they quickly adjusted it afterwards, it would be very difficult for the NPA to unravel any cheating.
For his part, the Head of Planning at the NPA, Dominic Aboagye, in a presentation, said only 20 per cent of the fuel consumed was refined locally and that the remaining 80 per cent was imported into the country.
He expressed optimism that when the ongoing construction of the Sentuo Oil Refinery in Tema was completed, it would shore up the percentage of crude oil refined locally and automatically reduce the fuel imported into the country.
He said Ghana’s petroleum products were among the best in West Africa and they competed with other products in Europe and other oil producing nations.