Friday, 23 October 2015 10:47

NPA deploys task force to check irregularities

The National Petroleum Authority (NPA), has dispatched a surveillance task force to five regions to check the validity of fuel dispensers at fuel stations.

The task force is also to ensure that guidelines for price deregulation are observed by fuel stations.
The five regions are Volta, Upper East, Upper West, Northern and Western regions.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NPA, Mr Moses Asaga, who made this known at a petroleum downstream industry review meeting in Accra last Wednesday, said: “The task force will check how prices are displayed and how dispensers are working.”

“We are doing this because we feel the industry must be in harmony with the uniform price which came about as a result of the deregulation regime,” he stated.

The meeting, which is an annual gathering of players in the downstream petroleum sector, was to review the policies and programmes of the previous year.
It also served as an avenue for feedback for the NPA from stakeholders on how to better regulate the sector.
Representatives from the Bulk Oil Distributors (CBDCs), Association of Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs), Fire Service, EPA and other relevant bodies attended the one-day forum.

Permit procedure
Mr Asaga said the NPA had also revised the permit procedure for the establishment of retail petroleum vending stations to reflect a multi-stakeholder approach.

The revised approach, introduced a year ago, according to officials of NPA, had proved to be more efficient in ensuring that all licence conditions for the setting up of petroleum outlets were adequately met by applicants.

According to Mr Asaga, the revised procedure had seen the introduction of the “No Objection” in the permit acquisition processes which required applicants to apply first to the NPA before any other stakeholder permitting body issued permit for the siting of retail outlets.

“So, instead of applicants applying to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MDAs), Town & Country Planning and other bodies for permits to site vending stations, the NPA must be the first point of call for site inspection, risk assessment and other factors. The NPA will be the authority to decide whether to accept or reject the siting of stations,” he said.

He indicated that the NPA had identified that most MDAs often issued permits when conditions for siting fuel stations had not been met.
“Often, applicants would acquire all necessary documentations from other stakeholders before contacting the NPA, which is not the appropriate procedure,” Mr Asaga said.

Deregulation challenges

He maintained that whereas the deregulation regime was a major breakthrough for the industry in 2015, the regime, he said, had bred recalcitrant service providers who were making attempts to compromise on quality.
He said some industry players had also attempted to engage in fraudulent export transactions where products meant to transit through Ghana to neighbouring countries were being diverted for sales locally since there were no tax components on them.

Describing the diversion and sale of transit products in the local market as an emerging trend, Mr Asaga expressed worry that such activities were likely to compromise product delivery.

“The sector could suffer consequences such as irregular supply of products, acute product shortages, hoarding, in some cases adulteration if it is not checked,” he said.

He also expressed concern that there could be limited inflow of investments to the downstream, should such activities be allowed to thrive.
“The NPA is working with Port Authority, Customs, the Bulk Distribution Companies (BDCs) and the relevant security agencies to ensure such activities are nipped in the bud,” Mr Asaga stressed.

Source: Daily Graphic

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