The Chief Executive Officer of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) , Moses Asaga has said sulphur levels in the diesel imported into the country are not as toxic as suggested in a report.
According to a report published by Public Eye, a Swiss-based NGO, which is partner to Ghana’s ACEP, some European companies have been shipping toxic diesel to many African countries including Ghana. The report revealed that, the diesel samples contained up to 378 times more sulphur than is permitted in Europe.
But speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, Mr. Asaga said the NPA had carried out an extensive emission test on diesel being imported into the country and found the result to be within acceptable levels. “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 said.
He further stated that it will be difficult for Ghana to be supplied with safe 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 where 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 the diesel imported to Ghana, Mr Asaga responded in the affirmative, saying most of the challenges consumers encounter are not caused by the kind of diesel they use.
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.”