General News of 2014-01-15

Uncertainty at NPA over fuel shortage

There is an ongoing uncertainty at the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) over the ongoing acute fuel shortage in Accra and other parts of the country.

While the Chief Executive of the NPA, Moses Asaga, blamed the fuel shortage on bad weather conditions in Europe and parts of the USA, his outspoken Public Relations Officer, Yaro Kasambata attributed the shortage to reduced output capacity of the product on the market by vendors due to the holidays.

This brouhaha makes the majority of Ghanaians wonder whether the authority can solve the problem at all. It also shows that our men and women at the NPA are not abreast with the petroleum product dynamics in the country and even on the international market, oil economists said.

This is evident to the fact that Mr Kasambata came out in all-force last week to promise that the fuel shortage would end by the close of Friday that week. But, alas the fuel shortage continues unabated.

On Monday, Mr Asaga insisted that the bad weather conditions led to the delay in arrival of cargo consignments meant for the country, stressing “There have been delays in Cargo arriving as a result of bad weather in North Europe and North West USA, and this bad weather has led to a delay in cargo arrival”.

However, employees of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), FuelTrade and other organizations have been working over the weekend to make fuel available in areas where there were shortages, Mr. Asaga told Citi FM, an Accra-based radio station yesterday.

He added: “Most of the Depots that we have; the TOR depot, the Fuel Trade depot among others, have been filling the tankers which are supposed to be moving to the various locations throughout the weekend." Distribution was underway to make fuel available in the capital, Mr. Asaga assured motorists.

The former Member of Parliament for Nabdam in the Upper East Region noted that his outfit’s checks in other parts of the country indicated that the shortage was almost resolved in many of the regions.

Mr. Asaga emphasized: “There is about 72 percent to 80 percent fuel available in the country right now. A survey in Kumasi showed that out of 106 filling stations, 72 percent of them had stock on Friday and Saturday. A similar check in Bolgatanga showed that 80 percent of fuel was available.”

But reacting to the NPA’s explanation which is pregnant with a lot of inconsistencies on his Facebook wall, the President of IMANI Ghana, Franklin Cudjoe, quizzed: “By what science is the National Petroleum Authority guided to report that the shortage of fuel in the past two weeks is due, in part, to leaner staff for bulk importers? For a product that sells at a profit?

And then we are told the colder weather in the west is responsible for slow importation? But why? Don't we have economic forecasters? Don't we know these weather patterns? And why should we solely depend on importation from farther and colder regions when there is a lot of fuel in Nigeria, our next door neighbour?

Source: Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh
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