The Bulk Road Vehicle (BRV) Tracking System has helped reduce revenue losses associated with false freight claims by tanker operators, saving the nation in excess of GH¢34 million per year, the National Petroleum Authority has said. At an official launch of the Bulk Road Vehicle Tracking Scheme in Accra, new CEO of the NPA, Alhassan Tampuli, said the revenue losses dropped from 12.3% in 2014 to 2.3% as at December 2016. In 2014 alone, the projected revenue loss was about GH¢43 million, a situation, the NPA boss said threatened the sustainability of the Unified Petroleum Price Fund (UPPF).
He indicated, however, that some transport operators and their drivers are busy manipulating the tracking devices, in order to continue making false freight claims on the fund. “We would like to take this opportunity to advise such people to stop tampering with the devices as serious penalties shall be applied to offenders of the above Regulations and Law accordingly,” he warned. To ensure that fuel prices remain relatively the same no matter how far truckers travel to deliver products across the country, the Unified Petroleum Price Fund was put in place. Transport operators thus make claims on the fund when they deliver products to distant parts of the country. What happens, however, is that in their fraudulent attempt to beat the system, some of the transport operators or their drivers make claims for delivering products in distant parts of the country when, in fact, they did not.
To help curb this, the Bulk Road Vehicle (BRV) Tracking System was put in place, and to provide a regulatory framework for the implementation of the Scheme, the Parliament of Ghana, on 6th of January, 2017 passed into law the National Petroleum Authority (Bulk Road Vehicle Tracking and Volume Monitoring) Regulations Legislative Instrument (L.I 2251). The tracking system consists of a Global Position System (GPS), a set of volume sensors affixed to tankers and a web based monitoring application software to monitor their movement and the volumes of products they carry. The system, the NPA said, has enabled the UPPF Secretariat to have visibility on the quantities of products loaded into BRVs, the loading depots and where the loaded products are delivered to.
The system also provides relevant information to the UPPF Secretariat to aid in the validation processes for freight claims payment. “This has reduced immensely the abuse in petroleum product haulage claims and the diversion of subsidized petroleum products such as premix fuel since its inception,” Alhassan Tampuli said. The dominant mode of transportation of petroleum products in the country is by road, through Bulk Road Vehicles or tankers. According to the NPA, which is the regulator of the petroleum downstream sector, there are more than 3,500 registered BRVs in the system, transporting 98% of the volume of petroleum products moved within the country. When the tracking system was not in place, petroleum service providers exploited the lack of capacity of the UPPF Secretariat to independently confirm the delivery of petroleum products to retail outlets by presenting false claims for deliveries.
“It was common knowledge for service providers to present freight claims for the delivery of petroleum products to Tamale and locations in the northern part of the country while in actual fact the products were delivered to Accra and its environs,” the NPA boss said. In a speech read for him, Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko, said the situation where 98% of product distribution is done by road should change, to save the roads and to reduce deadly accidents involving tankers. Despite its flexibility of delivering petroleum products, there are significant constraints associated with transporting petroleum products by road, the minister said. Road transportation of petroleum products involves high cost, acceleration of the wear and tear of existing road infrastructure from heavy vehicular movement and increase in road accidents, he said. “It is therefore important that, as a country we develop the other modes of transport like Rail, Water and Pipeline to be integrated into the distribution system to enhance its effectiveness and efficiency,” he said. Government, he said, has taken the challenge to address issues like the limited capacity of the Volta Lake Transport Company to transport petroleum products via the Volta Lake to the northern part of the country, the possibility of a rail line between Tema and Kumasi and the rehabilitation or replacement of pipelines from Tema to Akosombo.