The Chief Executive Officer of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Moses Asaga, has said the challenges consumers encounter with their vehicles is not as a result of the quality of diesel imported into the country but on consumers’ decisions to buy “old cars”.
According to him, diesel imported into the country is of quality standards in terms of its sulphur content.
A report published by Public Eye, a Swiss-based NGO, which is partner to Ghana’s ACEP, said some European companies have been shipping toxic diesel to many African countries including Ghana.
The three-year study revealed that sulphur content of diesel products imported into Africa are 150 times and, in some cases 1,000 times, more than the limits allowed in Europe, thus posing a great risk to health of consumers and easily damage the engines of vehicles.
But speaking on Citi FM Monday Morning, Mr Asaga said the sulphur levels in the diesel imported into the country is not as toxic as suggested in a report.
According to him, the NPA carries out extensive emission test on diesel imported into the country and the results are within acceptable levels.
He said, “Our quality is 99.7% if you add the sulphur to all the other factors. Our quality is 99.7% and Europe’s is 99.95%, clearly our products aren’t substandard.”
He further stated that it will be difficult for Ghana to be supplied with unsafe fuel since it will come at extra cost to the country.
According to him, Ghana would have to pay higher premiums which will subsequently result in an increment in taxes and levies on petroleum products, if it starts requesting for quality grades of fuel.
“In West Africa, the market is well structured. We have Nigeria, Ghana and Cote D’lvoire. When they are loading a ship, they will load about 300,000 metric tonnes on a ship. About 90% of the 300,000 metric tonnes is going to Nigeria and then the rest comes to Ghana. Anytime we have an emergency it is Nigeria that re-exports to Ghana so in terms of economics of chaos, anytime we want to move, it means we must move with Nigeria. If we don’t move with Nigeria and we want to be an isolated case then we have to pay a premium for those higher grades,” Mr. Asaga argued.
He explained that Ghanaian consumers are paying more for petroleum products than it counterparts in Kenya, the United States, Canada and Europe because those countries take their products directly from the Middle East wher the product is relatively cheaper unlike Ghana which takes the product from external sources.
“Kenya can afford to be cheaper because they take diesel directly from the middle east unlike us, we take from Amsterdam and Rotterdam and other countries…”
Asked whether it is environmentally friendly to use ‘dirty diesel’, Mr Asaga said most of the challenges consumers encounter are not caused by dirty diesel.
According to him, these challenges are caused by consumers’ decision to continuously import “old cars.”
“We do not import new cars; about 80 percent of our cars are old cars. Those cars that are coming into Ghana now are those cars that feed on the 3,000 PPM that Europe has rejected,” he said.