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Accra, April 26, GNA – Scores of Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) on Wednesday called on the National Security to tighten the noose around Petroleum Black Market dealers whose infiltration into the sector posed a great risk to the national economy.

Mr Henry Akwaboah, Managing Director of Engen Ghana Limited told the Ghana News Agency in an interview that, the growing Petroleum Black Market trade could disrupt the national economy, if not properly checked.

He said the total national petroleum consumption for 2015 was 4,341,519,247 volumes of litres. Based on developmental trend for 2016, which was also an election year and therefore forecasted to stimulate vitality on the economic front the general projection for petroleum consumption was pegged at 3 per cent increment over the 2015 figures.

He said based on 2015 volumes of sales, projected estimates volumes of sales of petroleum products for 2016 should have hit 4,471,764,824 litres but sadly the consumption for 2016 dropped significantly to only 4,051,101,969 volumes of litres.

In effect, over 420,662,855 volumes of litres was not sold through official channels; “this strategically was due to the activities of Petroleum Black Market dealers with active support of some unscrupulous security operatives.

“Ghana lost huge sums of money in terms of tax revenue as per official petroleum tax - Special Petroleum Tax GH¢132 million was lost to the nation; Energy Debt Recovery Levy about GH¢123 million; and the Road Fund levy about GH¢120 million”.

Mr Akwaboah said in spite of the drop in volumes of litres sold through mainstream channels, export volumes grew by 400 per cent; he added that products loaded as exports strangely through the black market dealers ended up being sold in the country.

He explained that the Government of Ghana removed all taxes on petroleum products meant for exports to the main trading land lock countries; “the petroleum black market dealers’ mode of operating is to register and load tanker trucks for export.

Mr Akwaboah suggested that all petroleum products for both local and export market should attract the same tax, but the caveat should compel all exporters to provide evidence of export of the product for a refund.

On the security front, the Engen MD suggested a multi-stakeholder approach to make petroleum black market dealing a high economic crime, “we should raise the risk associated with dealing in the dark.

“Security must scale-up its monitoring role and adopt other undisclosed manoeuvring tactics to outwit the bad elements within, especially those at the borders who aid petroleum black market dealers”.

He also suggested that fuel tanker trucks transporting petroleum products to the land lock countries must be fixed with a tracking device to ensure that the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) monitors its operations from the point of loading to the point of discharging.

Meanwhile, the Association of Oil Marketing Companies (AOMCs) has reiterated an operation to combat Petroleum Black Market dealers to save the country from continuous loss of tax revenue.

The AOMCs combat against Petroleum Black Market dealers also aimed at protecting OMCs, whose volumes of fuel sales has taken a dose dive, Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Duah AOMCs Industry Coordinator told the GNA in an interview in Accra.

He said the AOMCs combat against Petroleum Black Market dealers would involve multi-stakeholder operations to make illegal petroleum activities a high-risk adventure in the country.

Mr Agyemang-Duah said the operation would also unmasked all those personalities including politicians, security operators, few OMCs, and any other entity who are supporting and benefiting from the illegal trade at the expense of the state and genuine OMCs.

“For strategic security reasons, the date for the operation would not be announced, as we speak now, operatives are on the ground especially in the Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Brong Ahafo and Ashanti Regions gathering data on these unscrupulous nation wreckers.

“We caution all security personnel who have been compromised by these Petroleum Black Market dealers to watch-out as very, very soon they will be exposed to face the full power of the laws.

“...it’s very ironic that security operatives paid from the tax-money generated, to protect the nation, would stoop so low to collaborate with fraudsters to cheat the nation,” Mr Agyemang-Duah noted.

Scores of OMCs told the GNA of their intentions to join the illegal trade if the situation persist; “we are losing millions of Cedis, we cannot sell our products, it’s locked up in the underground tanks yet we pay taxes.

“We are confronted with huge operational cost; the banks are also chasing us for payment of loans contracted. If you cannot beat them join them, we are contemplating on all these options,” an operator told GNA.

The OMCs therefore pledged their full support to the Association and Government for the effort to combat against Petroleum Black Market dealers.

GNA investigations also indicates that the AOMCs, the National Petroleum Authority, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Energy, National Security and other stakeholders are discussing the issues to map-up holistic strategy to support the combat against Petroleum Black Market dealers.

By Francis Ameyibor, GNA

Petrosol, a solely Ghanaian-owned Oil Marketing Company(OMC) operating more than 70 fuel stations has been adjudged the fastest growing OMC in the country by the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC).

The OMC's Marketing Manager, Akwesi Zigah was awarded the Best Marketing Personnel while Florence Nyarko also won Overall Best Pump Attendant for Petrosol.

Receiving the awards on behalf of Petrosol, Chief Executive Officer Micheal Bozumbil expressed appreciation to the Chamber and customers, adding that Petrosol will continually work towards satisfying the demands of its customers.

Mr. Bozumbil bemoaned the sales of adulterated products and the smuggling of sub standard fuel into the country as the major challenge confronting Oil Marketing Companies in the country.

"Not only do these smuggled and contaminated products affect the sales and growth of OMCs in the country, it also curtails taxes paid to the government since OMCs are not making more sales as well posing damage threat to the vehicles of consumers." Mr. Bozumbil noted

He commended government's effort to combating the menace whiles urging for more to be done to mitigate the damaging effects of this practice.

"Government's effort is commendable but more ought to be done. This is a practice that cost government more than GHC 1bn annually. So government has to be consistent with its effort" Mr. Bozumbil noted.

He also asserted that the sale of smuggled and contaminated product displaces more than 2 million liters of Petrosol products monthly from the market costing Petrosol around GHC6million.

Meanwhile with respect to awards, Engen Oil was awarded Best Fuel Quality for the year under review.

The Association of Oil Marketing Companies (AOMCS) has wrapped up the 2017 Petroleum Fun Games with outstanding performance from Kabore Oil Limited sweeping five trophies and one first runner up trophy as well.

Kabore took away the Football, Lime and Spoon, Ludo, Draught trophies as well as the first runner up trophy for the Playing Cards and iced the good day with the Best Performing Team trophy, at the 2017 PETFUN Games held at the Burma Camp Leisure Center.

The PETFUN organized by the AOMC was to create an opportunity for Oil Marketing Companies (OMC) to drop their traditional business war and put on a new garment to engage in friendly hostilities on the playing field loaded with fun.

Other winners were: Ghana Oil Company Limited (GOIL) who disappointingly picked only the Table Tennis trophy, Puma Energy Limited also struggled for the Volleyball trophy, whilst the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) once again exerted their will power in the Tug of War competition disposing all opposition to pick the trophy.

NPA also picked the foremost swimming competition trophy, So Energy picked the Sack Race Trophy, and Excel Oil Company Limited picked the Playing Cards trophy.

The 2017 PETFUN also witness dramatic exposure of product branding, glamour and beauty, dexterity of scores of NPA ladies who added tonic to the fun with a chorographic performance on the sidelines whilst scores of some ladies were in titillating sports outfits for the beauty of the game.

The various OMCs also invaded the center with scores of brass band and cheer groups which created a harmonious musical and dancing disorder.

The Best Female Participant gold medal went to Ms Laila Zangvio of NPA, and the Golden Boot award was picked by Mr Asamoah Boateng of Kabore.

The silver medalists were: Excel picked the Volleyball; Glee Oil Company Limited picked the Tug of War; Venus Oil Company Limited took away the Football and the Lime and Spoon; NPA the Table Tennis and Swimming; and Glory Oil Company Limited picking the Ludo.

Other silver medallists were: Frimps Oil Company Limited picked the Draught, and Cirus Oil Company Limited took the Sack Race.
Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Duah, AOMC Industry Coordinator told the CDA Consult in an interview that the annual PETFUN was to create avenue for staffs to exercise their bodies through fun for healthy living.

“Management should not only focus on increased productivity to push staff to the ultimate but the welfare of staff should be paramount as a healthy person is well motivated to produce with little or no supervision and motivation.

“The bane of most corporate managers is the neglect of the welfare of staff, poor working environment, creating of ivory towers where they hide and operate from as well as lack of motivation,” Mr Agyemang-Duah stated and called on those in the formal working environment to engage in regular bodily exercises.

Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Duah, AOMCs Industrial Coordinator commended the Oil Marketing Companies who participated in games and noted the need for oil marketing companies to build bridges and establish stronger network with other stakeholders across board.

Communication for Development and Advocacy Consult (CDA Consult) provides tailor made development communication tools necessary for operational transformation and translating dreams into achievable goals and equips clients with mechanism for public education on specific issues.

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