Kumasi, Ashanti Region, Ghana – The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has pledged its commitment to enforce laws and regulations rigorously to maintain order and efficiency within the downstream sector of the petroleum industry in Ghana.
Ms. Farida Ali Musah, Manager of Legal Affairs at NPA, emphasized the Authority's resolve to take legal action against industry players who breach regulations.
Ms. Musah highlighted the significance of the Executive Instrument 378 (LI 378) passed under the NPA Act 2005, Act 691. She explained that LI 378 empowers the NPA to directly prosecute violators of its regulations.
Beginning in the first quarter of 2024, the NPA will initiate legal proceedings against those who flout petroleum industry rules at all levels of the law court.
Ms Musah underlined the limitations of relying on third parties such as the police and the Attorney General's Department to address illegal activities in the downstream petroleum sector. She emphasized the need for more proactive enforcement of regulations to ensure a law-abiding industry.
Some of the offences within the sector mentioned by Ms Musah include operating in the downstream industry without the necessary licenses, incorrect application of prescribed petroleum pricing formulas, providing false statements and recording misleading information, obstructing or interfering with the work of NPA officers and employees, and violations of petroleum product marketing and Bulk Road Vehicle (BRV) tracking and volume monitoring regulations.
To effectively uphold these specialized industry regulations, Ms. Musah called for the support and collaboration of all industry stakeholders. She also urged the media to play a vital role in addressing challenges within the sector by raising awareness and promoting compliance.
Mr. Dominic Aboagye from the Economic Regulation and Planning Directorate at NPA outlined several risks and threats to the supply of petroleum products into the country, including geopolitical risks, climate action policies, forex liquidity risk, and adverse weather conditions.
He stated that the NPA is implementing stringent measures to ensure uninterrupted petroleum product supply. These measures include monitoring the laycan program to prevent disruptions and the introduction of a Gold for Oil program.
The NPA is also enforcing exclusion zones around offshore discharge facilities.
Ms. Betty Nana Adwoa Ofori, Ashanti Regional Manager of NPA, identified challenges facing the sector in the region.
These challenges include inadequate knowledge among personnel handling petroleum products, insufficient training for fuel pump attendants, poor communication among sector stakeholders, and issues related to third-party retailers (tabletop sellers of petroleum products).
Non-compliance with outlet etiquette and warnings was also noted as a challenge in the region. Ms. Ofori stressed the need for comprehensive solutions to address these issues and enhance the region's petroleum industry operations.