BY BENJAMIN TANDOH
THE CHAMBER of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC), Ghana has called on the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) to review sanctions regime meted out to petroleum companies which flout the laws of the authority.
Though they commended the NPA for its recent action against some Oil Marketing Companies (OMC), the group argued that the sanctions “seem not to have yielded much by way of serving as deterrence to others over the period.”
The NPA, in a press statement last Tuesday, said it had suspended eight Bulk Distribution Companies and OMCs after they were accused of engaging in tax evasion. The culprits, the authority explained, would serve between one to three months effective July 18.
However, in a release signed by its Executive Member, Mr Duncan Amoah, and copied to the DAILY HERITAGE, COPEC argued that most of the sanctions by the authority to companies who flout the laws are “pretty affordable”, and called for stiffer sanctions.
“One challenge we have is that these fines, though reasonable to the Authority, do not in any way compensate or benefit the ordinary consumer who often suffers the negative consequences of being sold these bad products.
“Though we are very much aware of systems being put in place by the NPA to curtail this illegal trade downstream, we expect rather stiffer sanctions such as a complete revocation of licences and surcharging to ensure the state recovers every cedi lost to their activities if these companies indeed have been found to have engaged in such negative practices as has been reported,” they stated.
They further said “Such sanctions as imposing fines of about 10,500.00/tank on products that fail the spot checks have done very little so far to deter other dealers who would clearly not mind boxing genuine products with inferior grade ones to achieve higher volumes and eventually higher profits.”
They, nonetheless, urged the NPA and the government to conduct a strong security check to prevent the influx of sub-standard petroleum products into the Ghanaian market.
“We also believe there’s still a bigger force out there that poses a great danger to the petroleum consuming public as these products often go untested and unverified to ascertain quality or otherwise while also depriving the state itself of the needed taxes,” they said.
A statement by the NPA warned the public to desist from doing business with the affected companies and urged the public to report any infringement on the part of the affected companies to the authority.
The affected companies, as the authority mentioned, were Union Oil Ghana Limited, Agapet Limited, Excel Oil Company Limited, Misyl Energy Company Limited, and Globex Energy Company Limited, who will serve a month suspension.
The rest are Petro Afrique Company Limited, Life Petroleum Company Limited and Unique Company Limited, who will serve three months’ suspension.