Business News of 2014-06-26

Gov’t debt causes fuel hoarding

Government’s inability to settle part of the arrears of GH¢1.8 billion to Bulk Oil Distributing Companies (BDCs) is believed to have led to the hoarding of fuel in the metropolis, a few days after BDCs warned about the development.

According to the BDCs, if government does not settle part of the arrears, the fuel shortage would continue. As a result, many people cannot get fuel to buy because the filling stations have not received their supplies from BDCs.

At other places, the filling stations have mounted a ‘NO PETROL’ and ‘NO DIESEL’ signposts. A visit by this paper to some fuel filling stations around La, Osu, Nima, Kokomlemle, Adabraka and Ridge confirmed the incident, as all the filling stations were empty.

Explaining the issue, Senyo Horsi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors, said BDCs have called for the removal of subsidies on petroleum products but Government has not heeded its advice. He said petroleum price subsidies hardly benefit the poor.

The development is going to negatively affect commuters; especially workers whose establishments do not transport bus them to and from work. Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, in an interview with journalists yesterday, said his outfit had engaged BDCs to address all pending issues.

Such issues involve making sure that there is enough forex for the banks so that the importation of the products would be covered, he indicated. Also, he said the Bank of Ghana (BoG) yesterday held a meeting and made a commitment to ensure the provision of forex.

“We already know that Ernst & Young has been engaged to look into the forex losses. We have six weeks to do this audit but already we are in the third week. Government has shown commitment that it is going to move forward in that direction after the audit.

“As I speak to you, there are enough products in the system. Our appeal to the OMCs is that we have sent the NPA teams out. Don’t take advantage of those announcements and create panic because if you do and you start telling everybody that there are no products, you are breaking the law, and we will punish you, but we are doing everything possible to ensure that there is continuous flow of products on the market.”