Upper East Regional Minister warns fuel smugglers

Fuel_stationDr Ephraim Avea Nsoh,  Upper East Regional Minister on Thursday warned  that  henceforth fuel smugglers and people who hoard it would not be spared by the law.

Of late the Upper East Region has been experiencing fuel shortage due to smuggling.  The practice is very common at Paga and Bawku, which share borders with neigbouring countries like Burkina Faso and Togo where the commodity is in high demand.

The Regional Minister gave the warning when he met with fuel station managers in Bolgatanga to establish the cause of the problem and to see how he could address it.

Dr Nsoh told the fuel station managers to ensure that their station attendants stopped dealing with middlemen who purchase the product in large quantities, particularly when they suspect price increases.

He bemoaned the spate of  fuel smuggling at Paga and Bawku  and said as a Regional Minister, he would not renege in his efforts at ensuring  that those who did not have genuine permits to buy fuel in drums or big cans and were doing illegal business were weeded out.

He noted that it was the ordinary people who suffer most when such situations occur and indicated that in the deprived areas of the Region motorbikes were used as means of transport to convey patients, particularly pregnant women to health facilities.

“As a result of the consistent shortage of fuel, it makes it impossible for patients in the remote areas to be transported to the health facilities. We cannot allow this to continue to happen”.

He told the fuel station managers to do everything possible to ensure that there was constant supply of fuel in the region, saying that, “fuel is the central component of our development efforts which should not be toyed with by selfish individuals at the expense of the ordinary people”.

The Regional Minister admonished the fuel station managers to form associations and to discuss matters affecting them and also consult the Regional Coordinating Council for support if the need arose.

The Fuel Station managers assured the Minister that they would comply with his directives but blamed part of the problem on the delays in the supply of the product and the granting of fuel permits to many people to establish fuel stations closer to the border towns.

Source: GNA

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