Oil refiners in Africa push for uniform pricing
The African Refiners Association (ARA) has initiated steps to ensure a uniform pricing of fuel products in the West African region.
According to the Association, the increasing smuggling of fuel products with low standards is the cause of disparities in prices across the region.
Ghana lost some 200 million dollars in two years while its counterpart, Nigeria is said to be losing 2million dollars daily to the illegal activities.
Speaking to Citi Business News, the ECOWAS Regional Advisor of the African Refiners Association, Tony Ogbuigwe said the harmonization of taxes, excise duties and subsidies on petroleum products, is key to reducing fuel smuggling.
“The smuggling is taking place because of the price differentials. The price of PMS in Nigeria is very low whereas you are paying double in Ghana, Togo, Mali and Benin. So naturally, people will smuggle from Nigeria to these places to make more money,”Mr. Ogbuigwe explained.
The Association believes regulators in the individual countries can effectively regulate the petroleum sector if the prices are harmonized.
The Association is also campaigning for improved fuel specifications as a partial solution to raising air quality in Africa to protect the health of persons within the region, and also reduce environmental pollution.
In a policy framework developed by the Association, the refiners want African governments to take the necessary actions to ensure that fuel quality meets AFRI 4 standard by 2020 and AFRI 5 standard by 2030.
Also, they want the government to take into account all socio-economic benefits of maintaining a refining structure and upgrade refineries to meet the AFRI Roadmap.
According to Mr. Ogbuigwe, improving fuel quality needs to be accompanied by laws, restricting the age and quality of vehicle imports, as well as the introduction of a comprehensive vehicle maintenance, inspection and testing programme.
The African Refiners Association (ARA), founded in 2006 has over 500 members across the continent.