Stringent measures introduced by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) to curb smuggling of petroleum products have reduced the number of companies engaged in oil export business from 30 to three.
Irregularities in the petroleum export to landlocked countries (Mali, Burkina Faso and Togo) in the past cost the government about GH¢1 billion in revenue, but the situation has changed since September 2017, as the number of exporters has reduced by 97 per cent.
“In our efforts to curb the menace, the NPA in September 2017, introduced stringent export guidelines to govern and monitor the activities of petroleum product exports. “This has resulted in a significant drop in fuel dumping activities,” the Chief Executive Officer of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Mr Alhassan Tampuli, told the Daily Graphic in Accra last Wednesday.
He said before the implementation of the guidelines, about 20 companies exported about 30 millilitres of petroleum products every month. Currently, only three companies were in the business, lifting less than two millilitres of products per month. Mr Tampuli said those measures drastically reduced export dumping and saved the state almost GH¢4 million in tax revenue for the last quarter of 2017. Under the new guidelines, exporters are required to deposit a guarantee bond with a face value equal to the tax that should be paid on the export products.
It also include application for a letter of ‘No Objection’ indicating the quantities, product type, name of importer in Mali and a notarised contract between the parties. The applicant is further required to include the vehicles to be used and their registration numbers. According to Mr Tampuli, most of the importers were unable to meet the stated requirements, thereby drastically reducing incidents of export dumping and loss of revenue to the state.
However, he indicated that recalcitrant petroleum service providers had switched their attention to the dumping of marine gas oil (MGO foreign) meant for foreign vessels. “The reason was to encourage competitive advantage on the Ghanaian waters but effective January 16, 2018, the government imposed full taxes on MGO foreign. Since then, there has been a drastic reduction in MGO foreign monthly volumes from about 20 million litres to 200,000 litres per month,” Mr Tampuli stated.
Reacting to concerns by the Association of Oil Marketing Companies (AOMCs) with regards to high taxes, diminishing profit margins and activities of illegal fuel smugglers, Mr Tampuli said the NPA had also been collaborating with security agencies to apprehend unscrupulous petroleum service providers (PSPs). For instance in 2017, 15 trucks were impounded in Tema, two in Tamale, while three canoes, five outboard motors, four mobile pumps and three trucks were also impounded in the Western Region.
“The NPA, in collaboration with the relevant security agencies and other stakeholders, is working to ensure those behind it are arrested and dealt with, Mr Tampuli said.