The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has invited the National Petroleum Tanker Drivers Union for a meeting to deliberate on concerns raised by the Union.
Fuel tanker drivers held a press conference on Monday, October 19, 2020, to complain about some issues affecting them and demanded government’s intervention.
They among other things complained about police harassment at checkpoints and NPA’s lack of adherence to a 2017 memorandum of understanding signed by stakeholders on condition of service for tanker drivers and their mates.
They also complained about the non-compliance of transit losses and refusal of the depot operators to abide by the 20 degrees Celsius loading temperature requirement.
NPA, however, absolved itself from blame in a statement to respond to the tanker drivers.
The downstream petroleum regulator said the General Transport, Petroleum and Chemical Workers Union (GTPCWU) will be part of the planned meeting with the tanker drivers.
Below is the full statement from NPA:
RE: TANKER DRIVERS UNION ISSUE ULTIMATUM OVER UNADDRESSED GRIEVANCES
The attention of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has been drawn to a press conference organised by the Ghana National Petroleum Tanker Drivers Union (GNPTDU) on Monday October 19, 2020.
Their grievances centred on five (5) issues as listed below:
1. National Petroleum Authority (NPA) should approve the 86 Gas filling station outlets which have their permits;
2. Police harassment at check points and barriers instructed by NPA UPPF Coordinator Mr. Samuel Asare – Bediako ceased with immediate effect;
3. Non-compliance of transit losses and refusal of the depot operators to abide by the at 20oC loading temperatures;
4. Non-compliance of 2017 memorandum of understanding (M.O.U.) signed by stakeholders on drivers and mates condition of service; and
5. Benefit of COVID-19 fund to essential or frontline workers.
We have reviewed the issues raised by the Union and responds as follows:
1. Request to approve 86 Gas Filling Stations – It would be recalled that following the Atomic Junction gas explosion on 7th October, 2017, Cabinet issued a directive on 12th October 2017, banning the issuance of construction permits for new petroleum products retail stations with immediate effect. However, in January 2018 the NPA was directed by the Ministry of Energy after consultations with Cabinet to use its legal mandate to resume the processing of applications for Oil Marketing Companies that met the required conditions including the siting guidelines for white products (petrol, diesel and kerosene) retail stations. It is worthy to note that this directive excluded processing of applications for LPG filling plants.
Subsequently, the NPA in a meeting with the Ministry of Energy in June 2018, was directed to process applications of OMCs/LPGMCs that had lawfully constructed their refilling plants prior to Cabinet’s directive issued on 12th October, 2017.
To date, fifty-two (52) applications from the LPG Marketing Companies have since been processed to test run or operate their facilities. The ban on the grant of construction permits for new LPG refilling plants is however still in force.
The LPG Marketers Association in a letter dated 25th June, 2020 appealed to the NPA to grant them approval to complete the construction and operate their LPG refilling plants which were in various stages of development. Subsequently, a meeting was held on 24th July, 2020, between the NPA and stakeholders including the Union. A review of the documentation provided on 86 sites submitted indicated that only 11 of them had been granted construction permits prior to the directive in 2017.
A total number of 6 out of the 11 had applied for authorization to operate their completed facilities but were yet to meet the NPA’s requirements.
Additionally, 17 out of the 86 sites had been granted “No Objection” permits (prior to 2017) to enable the applicants obtain the statutory permits to apply for construction permits. An inspection of 55 out of the 86 sites so far revealed that 34 sites had been developed and 21 sites undeveloped.
Of the 34 developed sites, 23 did not have the NPA’s construction permit hence were constructed unlawfully.
It is worth noting that 4 subsequent meetings have taken place with the Union. The last meeting scheduled to take place on the 14th of October, 2020 was called off due to the absence of the Gas Tanker Drivers Association.