Gov’t to digitise distribution of pre-mix fuel this year – Veep

Accra- Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on Wednesday said government will digitise distribution of pre-mix fuel this year to crackdown on the frequent smuggling of the product and ensure efficiency so that only registered boats enjoy government’s subsidies on the commodity.

He said the team working on the digitisation of the commodity has been given four weeks to finalise the process, noting that after successful implementation, it would extend the technology to fertilizer distribution next year.

This, according to Dr Bawumia, would ensure efficiency in the premix fuel distribution to curb hoarding and other malpractices carried out in the sector.

He said government had been leveraging on digital technology to improve efficiency in the public service delivery and mentioned the digitisation of the port operations, driver’s application and licensing regime, business registration, mobile money interoperability and the ongoing efforts to digitise the lands records.

Vice President Bawumia announced this at the opening of the third edition of the Ghana International Petroleum Conference (GhipCon) in Accra on Wednesday, held on the theme, Regional Collaboration: A Catalyst for Transformation.

The conference was organised by the Ministry of Energy and National Petroleum Authority in collaboration with the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors, which attracted petroleum experts, policy-makers, business men and women and captains of industry in the sub-region.

It is designed to actively bring to the fore the operating industry’s perspectives and guidance on issues of governmental and regulatory policy as well as best practices for the advancement of the petroleum downstream sector across the West African sub-region.

It will also afford stakeholders in the petroleum downstream industry in West African sub-region, to harmonise their policies and explore opportunities to allow the industry to respond to global development and trends consistent with member countries’ interests and aid in their economic transformation.

Vice President Dr Bawumia urged investors to take advantage of the favourable petroleum market environment in Ghana to invest in infrastructure such as oil jetties, pipelines and distribution facilities, as well as refineries, gas processing plants and storage and loading gantries.

He noted that the deregulation of the petroleum downstream sector had ensured significant investments and expansion of petroleum products and outlets facilities across the country.

He gave the assurance that government would continue to create an enabling environment for petroleum downstream sector to thrive competitively and work efficiently with the highest safety standards.

He said the private sector had largely championed investments in the petroleum downstream sector, with growing number of indigenous Ghanaian companies, resulting in new entrants licensed to operate as petroleum service providers.

He said there were more than 250 licensed petroleum downstream operators across the value chain, with over 15 different licensed categories providing support services.

Dr Bawumia observed that the unique geographic position of Ghana, coupled with the country’s stable democracy and security, required that it provided leadership in building integrated infrastructure to serve the sub-regional petroleum industry.

Mr Hassan Tampuli, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Petroleum Authority, in his welcome address, said the nation was losing US$200million in tax revenues annually, due to the various malpractices in the downstream petroleum sector.

He mentioned siphoning of liquefied petroleum gas, smuggling of fuel and under declaration of invoices by some petroleum service providers, with 300,000 tonnes of petroleum products unreported, adding that the NPA was working with the security agencies to crackdown on the menace.

He said Ghana was among the few countries in Africa with 50MMP Sulphur in petroleum products and, thus declared zero Sulphur in the commodity to safeguard human health and the environment.

Source: Ghana News Agency