Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has launched the Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS) and Command Control Centre for the Bulk Road Vehicle (BRV) to curb smuggling of petroleum products in the petroleum downstream sector.
The tracking system, an initiative of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), would serve as a monitoring system and enhance efficiency in the petroleum value chain, disrupt corruption and maximise tax revenue for the state.
He reaffirmed government’s resolve to leveraging on technology to improve efficiency in the Public Sector and announced plans to digitise premix fuel distribution across the country to curb deep rooted corruption in the sale of the subsidised commodity.
It is estimated that illegal petroleum activities cost the country over $200 million annually in the form of lost direct petroleum tax revenue, subsidies that do not get to the targeted constituencies, and abuse in transport claims for transportation of petroleum products.
Vice President Bawumia, speaking at the launch of the tracking system in Accra, lauded the NPA for the deployment of Automatic Tank Gauging and Stock Management and Monitoring Systems at petroleum retail outlets across the country this year.
The event, chaired by Mr Kwaku Agyemang Duah, Industrial Coordinator, attracted key stakeholders in the petroleum value chain, captains of industry and members of the Tanker Union.
Vice President Bawumia applauded the Management and Board of NPA and its collaborating stakeholder agencies in their efforts at improving operational standards and efficiency in the petroleum downstream sector.
“I have followed with keen interest the efforts that the Authority is making, especially in fighting illegal activities in the petroleum downstream industry and the results achieved so far.
“It is therefore with great pleasure that I am here today to be part of the launch of the Command and Control Centre for the Bulk Road Vehicle (BRV) and the Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS).
“This is yet another example of how we can leverage on technology to tackle some of the problems that continue to undermine our ability to build the Ghana we want,” he stressed.
He said energy was critical to the management of every country’s economy and had become an important issue around the globe; hence the placing of high priority on the development of all sources of energy and their distribution to ensure availability of cheap, and quality energy for Ghanaians.
“The petroleum downstream sector is a critical component in meeting the energy requirements of the country. An efficient and effective petroleum products distribution system is important and essential to the economic growth of the country.
“It is for this reason that Government is committed to improving the movement of petroleum products within the country, whether it is by road, rail, water or pipeline,” the Vice President assured.
To this end, he said, the government had taken measures to ensure that the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST) was well managed and provided with adequate resources and capacity to lead the transformation of the petroleum product distribution system.
Dr Bawumia said government welcomed private sector participation and thus, charged the NPA to collaborate with relevant state agencies to attract the necessary private investment and appropriate technology into the sector.
“Government is concerned about the network of illegal activities going on in the petroleum downstream industry, mostly in the form of bunkering, smuggling of petroleum products and the dumping of products meant for export on the local market,” Dr Bawumia pointed out.
He noted that those engaged in illegal practices posed a threat to the national economy by impacting negatively on the maritime security and undermining the nation’s efforts in mobilising tax revenue from the sale of petroleum products.
He said the revenue loss to illegal petroleum activities translated into nearly GHc1.1 billion annually, which was about 55 percent of the money needed every year by government to finance a full stream of Free Senior High School (FSHS) Policy.
He said the dynamics of illicit activities in the petroleum downstream industry required a multi-pronged solution to ensure sanity in the industry.
“I therefore charge the NPA to enhance and sustain the already initiated technological interventions such as the Petroleum Product Marking Scheme, the Bulk Road Vehicle Tracking and Volume Monitoring System, the Enterprise Relational Database Management System (ERDMS) and now the Electronic Sealing and Cargo Tracking System,” Dr Bawumia said.
He applauded plans to enforcing the use of flow-metres with temperature compensation features at all petroleum product depots and the automation of the measuring systems and processes at all depots.
“These systems will give the regulatory authorities such as the NPA and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) a real time view of petroleum product stocks and movements at all retail outlets and depots in the country.
“I would like to encourage the NPA to vigorously pursue these plans and also enhance its collaborative activities with the National Security Council and the GRA in finding a lasting solution to the illicit activities in the petroleum downstream industry,” Vice President Bawumia charged.
Mr Alhassan Tampuli, the Chief Executive Officer of NPA, in his welcome, remarks, said the introduction of the tracking system showed the NPA’s commitment to improving standards, controls and distribution of petroleum products in the country.
He said the various sectors of the economy stood to benefit by receiving petroleum products in the right quantity and quality and be a catalyst for economic growth.