Members of the Ghana National Petroleum Tanker Drivers Association have protested against the implementation of the new Electronic Cargo Tracking System by the National Petroleum Authority, NPA.
The Electronic Cargo Tracking System and the National Command Centre from the National Petroleum Authority was launched in Accra in January this year to improve the efficiency of NPA in the monitoring of Bulk Roads Vehicles nationwide.
The move is further aimed at eliminating or reducing illicit activities associated with the transportation of petroleum products across the country. The Command Centre is fully with computers, and vehicle tracking devices.
However, the drivers gathered at some fuel depots in Tema to kick against the system which took effect on April 1, 2020.
They have also threatened to lay down their tools from April 2, 2020, if the NPA fails to put the implementation on hold.
Citi Business News’ Elvis Washington who was at the scene reported that the drivers gathered at the car park of Chase Petroleum, where they were supposed to load their tankers. They threatened not to move the loaded trucks until the NPA makes a U-turn on the implementation of the Electronic Cargo Tracking System.
They also want the NPA to hold on with the implementation until the partial lockdown over the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
The drivers are of the view that the new policy may come with some technical challenges that cannot be addressed currently since the NPA has also shut down its offices due to the lockdown.
“The issue here is that the big men don’t normally respect us, excuse me to say. Why would they implement this new rule when the President has stated that, we should observe the lock-down. Why can’t they just let us go so that when this pandemic is over and we resume work then they put in place these new measures for us to work smoothly? ” a driver quizzed.
“We are prepared to serve Mother Ghana. We can’t sit down when there is a shortage at the depots. But the problem is that, the NPA has come up with this new directive and we have petitioned them several times. Even this sealing and tracking system will have health implications on us, and we have been asking them to give us the manual to go and study it. It has been over a month now but they have not done that. Yet, they are pushing us to go and load,” another driver lamented.
Aside from the new electronic tracking system, the tanker drivers have also been asked to stop parking around the Tema Oil Refinery enclave and relocate to a new one thousand truck capacity tanker yard, built by the NPA, directly opposite the Kpone Landfill Site. But the drivers are also against this directive.
“We are law-abiding people, we want to work so that the nation will benefit from our work; but we are not happy with what they are doing now. We have some problems and have complained to the union; but there hasn’t been any solution. They have asked us to go and sit by the rubbish whiles they sit in their offices. This is our problem,” he said.
Vice Chairman of the Tanker Drivers Association, Sunday Alabi, said NPA is not being fair to the drivers. They have vowed to lay down their tools if their issues are not resolved immediately.
“As I stand here, the NPA headquarters has been shut down for their workers to go home. But we decided that, we will sacrifice our life and work for Ghana but still, our efforts are not appreciated. They asked us to go to the parking lot at Kpone, but that place is filthy. They say it is for only the drivers. Now, as their offices are locked because of the President’s directive; we can’t have a meeting with them. So, we will wait until the pandemic is over, and look at the way forward,” he noted.