Business News of 2013-12-13

‘Ensure transparency in downstream oil sector’

The newly reconstituted board of directors of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) was, last Wednesday, inaugurated with a call on members to ensure transparency in the downstream sector.

The Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Mr Kofi-Armah Buah, also advised officials to strive to ensure that the universal consumer subsidies on petroleum products benefitted both the rich and the poor.

The board, chaired by Mr Ralph Roland, a Financial manager at the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), also has Dr Eric Graham, a medical doctor, Mr Richard Ampaabeng, representing the Trades Union Congress (TUC), and Ms Clothilde Agbenorto, a legal practitioner, as members.

The other mebers are Mr Bernard Allotey Jacobs, a government nominee; Mr David Adom, a financial management consultant; Mr Suleman Koney of the Ghana Chamber of Mines and Mr Moses Asaga, the acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NPA.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Buah underscored the need for the board to enforce the authority’s regulations on pirated petroleum products.

He said the board must come up with new ideas and processes on how to deal with the continuous adulteration of petroleum products at loading and delivery points by people whose main interest was to profit at the expense of the state.

“You must endeavour to create positive changes that would go to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in the authority’s operations,” Mr Buah charged the board.

Mr Buah also charged the NPA board to ensure transparency in the government’s subsidy regime on petroleum products.

“While subsidies on petroleum products have had a serious impact on the economy, there is also the need to deploy more productive measures such as investment in human capital through social services as a means of alleviating poverty among the citizenry,” the minister stated.

The Chairman of the board, Mr Roland, gave the assurance that members would be committed to ensuring that the authority became an efficient regulator in the downstream industry.

He said the NPA was willing to pursue an aggressive deregulation policy within the sector, following the use of petroleum products, evidenced by multiple vehicle use by families, traffic congestion and long stays in traffic which have had adverse effect on productive time.

He, therefore, appealed to the government to help the authority to ensure a full implementation which would go to free resources for the government to spend on other productive ventures such as the social sectors, including education and health.