The Association of Oil Marketing Companies says the introduction of the National Retail Outlet Fuel Monitoring System is a game-changer in sanitizing the sector.
According to the association, this will help rid the system of non-compliant businesses.
In an interview with Citi Business News, President of the Association of Oil Marketing Companies, Henry Akwaboah, commended the government for the move and indicated his outfit’s commitment towards addressing the challenge.
“The automatic tank gauging system recently launched by the Vice President of the Republic is a step in the right direction. This is what the industry needs as far as sanitizing the industry is concerned.”
“The National Petroleum Authority has a clear set of guidelines within which all oil marketing companies are supposed to operate. This tool is really going to enhance these guidelines.”
He further expressed the association’s dedication towards ensuring a successful implementation of the initiative.
“As an association, we are very committed to partnering with the National Petroleum Authority and all related authorities to make sure that this system is implemented to the core. We believe in the National petroleum authority to be very effective in implementing this system.”
The government as part of efforts aimed at eliminating illicit activities associated with the transportation and effective distribution of petroleum products across the country introduced the National Retail Outlet Fuel Monitoring System.
Already, data from the National Petroleum Authority, NPA, show that between 2015 and 2019, the government lost over four billion Ghana Cedis in tax revenue because of illegal activities in the petroleum downstream sector.
The Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors, CBOD, commended the government for launching the National Retail Outlet Fuel Monitoring System.
However, speaking to Citi Business News, Chief Executive Officer of CBOD, Senyo Hosi, indicated that although the idea is commendable, efforts must be made to coordinate all information on the sector to address the issue of tax evasion.
“It is a fantastic idea, it is good, it will be helpful, but it is one piece of data. In fighting the smuggling, it’s not just having data scattered around, it’s about exactly how we would be coordinating with all the various pockets of data.”
CBOD had in a recent report stated that GH₵1.9 billion was lost through petroleum tax evasion in 2019.
On the other hand, the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) said that beyond the introduction of the monitoring system by the government, prosecution of perpetrators is key to addressing the country’s fuel smuggling challenge.
According to the Executive Secretary of COPEC, Duncan Amoah, although the move is commendable it cannot sufficiently address the challenge.
“Unfortunately, it will take more than these devices or applications to curtail fuel smuggling. The human element contained in the fuel smuggling activities is quite a huge one. It will be prudent if persons found to the involved in this are arrested and prosecuted to send a further signal to persons engaged in this activity. These devices have been around for some time, unfortunately, the guys still can find some time to go round them and still beat the system and evade these taxes.”