Fuel monitoring system will help check smuggling – Oil Marketing Companies

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According to the Association of Oil Marketing Companies, the implementation of the National Retail Outlet Fuel Monitoring System is a game changer in terms of sanitizing the industry.

According to the group, this would aid in the removal of non-compliant companies from the scheme.

In an interview with Citi Business News, Henry Akwaboah, President of the Association of Oil Marketing Companies, praised the government’s move and expressed his organization’s commitment to addressing the problem.

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“The Vice President of the Republic’s recent introduction of an automated tank gauging device is a step in the right direction. This is just what the industry needs in terms of sanitization.”

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“The National Petroleum Authority has developed a specific set of guidelines for all oil marketing companies to follow. This tool will significantly improve these guidelines.”

He also shared the association’s commitment to seeing the project through to completion.

“As an organization, we are deeply committed to collaborating with the National Petroleum Authority and other relevant authorities to ensure that this scheme is fully enforced. We have faith in the National Petroleum Authority to be very successful in putting this structure in place.”

As part of its efforts to eliminate illegal activities associated with the transportation and effective distribution of petroleum products across the country, the government implemented the National Retail Outlet Fuel Monitoring System.

Data from the National Petroleum Authority, NPA, indicate that the government lost over four billion Ghana Cedis in tax revenue between 2015 and 2019 as a result of illegal activities in the petroleum downstream market.

The National Retail Outlet Fuel Monitoring System, launched by the government, was praised by the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors, CBOD.

However, in an interview with Citi Business News, Senyo Hosi, Chief Executive Officer of CBOD, stated that, though the concept is admirable, efforts must be made to organize all information on the sector in order to resolve the issue of tax evasion.

“It is a fantastic idea, it is good, it will be helpful, but it is one piece of data. In fighting the smuggling, it’s not just having data scattered around, it’s about exactly how we would be coordinating with all the various pockets of data.”

CBOD had in a recent report stated that GH₵1.9 billion was lost through petroleum tax evasion in 2019.

On the other hand, the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) said that beyond the introduction of the monitoring system by the government, prosecution of perpetrators is key to addressing the country’s fuel smuggling challenge.

According to the Executive Secretary of COPEC, Duncan Amoah, although the move is commendable it cannot sufficiently address the challenge.

“Unfortunately, more than these devices or applications would be needed to reduce fuel smuggling. The human factor in fuel smuggling activities is very important. It would be prudent if those found to be involved in this activity were arrested and charged in order to send a further warning to those involved in this activity. These gadgets have been around for a while, but the guys can still find a way to get around them and bypass the system and evade these taxes.”

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