Mr Mohammed Amin Adam, the Deputy Minister of Energy, has asked Ghanaians to bear with government as it implements measures to address challenges with the current and future petroleum price movements.
Speaking at the opening of the fifth Ghana Gas Forum in Accra on Tuesday, on the theme: ‘Driving Ghana’s Downstream Gas utilization’, Mr Adam said government was concerned about the increasing petroleum product prices, affecting Ghana and other countries, and was working to mitigate it.
He said while government appreciated the legitimate worries of its people; and we were making significant interventions to address them, it was mindful to do so without derailing the benefits of the deregulated pricing market.
“…we should as a country be reminded that we dare not go back to the era of regulated pricing when resources meant for financing education and health were used to subsidise petroleum prices, and which in the end led to accumulation of huge debts that threatened the availability of petroleum products…,” he said.
Among the measures that government was implementing to address this problem was the reduction and abolition of some tax components of petroleum products; from 40 percent in March 2017 to 26 percent currently.
It is also putting in place demand and supply side strategies, including on the demand side; improvement of mass transport system by increasing number of buses and development of the railway infrastructure, and on the supply side, addressing the depreciation of the Cedi and removing supply bottlenecks.
Mr Adam said a Downstream Petroleum Financing policy will be introduced to address the costly financing challenges hindering supply of petroleum products to Ghana’s markets.
He assured that government would continue to devote resources to its social interventions, including the free SHS, NHIS and reducing electricity tariffs to reduce the economic burden on Ghanaians.
Mr Senam Gbeho, Executive Secretary of the Gas Consortium, organizers of the Ghana Gas Forum, said the consortium wanted to see more happening down the gas value chain, especially in petrochemicals.
He said the gas sector presented an opportunity for the economic and social transformation of the country and while there was some recognition of this in the Gas Masterplan, there was a need for more implementation.
He said it was expected that the two-day forum would create a consensus and recommendations that can be taken to policy makers, including the Ministry of Energy and other stakeholders.