The government does not have the power to reduce fuel prices immediately, Hassan Tampuli, Chief Executive Officer of the National Petroleum (NPA), has said.
According to him, this is due to the deregulation exercise that was began during the previous NDC [Mahama} administration.
The power to do, he explained is in the hands of the Oil Marketing Companies (OMC) as stated in the deregulation policy.
However, Mr. Tampuli said per NPA’s calculations fuel prices are likely to go down by about 15% in the next pricing window [16 March, 2020].
He was reacting to calls by NDC and the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers Ghana (COPEC) that the government should immediately reduce fuel prices in the country to ameliorate the financial burden on Ghanaians.
In a statement released and signed by Sammy Gyamfi on Monday, 9 March 2020, the NDC stated that it had “taken notice of the continuous reduction of the price of Brent crude on the international market in the last two months. Specifically, we have noted how the price of Brent crude has declined by over 45 per cent, from an average price of US$63.60 per barrel in January 2020 to US$36 per barrel currently.”
According to the NDC: “The declining prices of crude oil on the international market, coupled with the artificial stability the Ghana cedi appears to be chalking, which is largely due to the Coronavirus outbreak and the injection of the recent USD3 billion Eurobond into the economy, should have led to a significant drop in the pump prices of fuel by now.”
It noted, however, that government “has deliberately refused to pass on the significant reduction in the prices of crude oil on the global market to petroleum consumers in Ghana” and indicated that “within the period that crude oil prices have experienced a significant decline on the international market, consumers have only been given an insignificant and paltry reduction of 28 pesewas at the pump, from GHS 5.62 in January 2020 to the current average price of GHS 5.38.”
But Mr Tampuli explained in an interview on Tuesday March 10 that: “We have heard calls from various interest groups, I have heard calls by COPEC, calls by the communications director of the NDC ,Sammy Gyamfi and another group also affiliated to the NDC asking for the government to immediately reduce prices of petroleum products .
“I think that is a call that clearly sends the signal that our good friends from the other side have not really learned anything after they lost power.
“Because since 1st July 2015 when President John Mahama was president of the Republic, we have moved from the time when government would intervene in pricing of petroleum products to a time where the determination of prices of petroleum products is made by the oil marketing companies.
“The key indicators being the forex rates, the FOB prices, the international price and the taxes levied are the things that one has to use taking into account that the prices should be reduced. The next pricing window starts from the 16th of March so if anybody is asking government today, the 10th of March to change the prices of petroleum products immediately it tells you the person does not understand the issues. I think that if they want to speak about some of these issues they should go back to people who know what the industry is about from among their ranks.
“Honorable Moses Asaga was the one who signed to this deregulation, have they asked him how it is done? Have they asked Mr Alex Mould how this thing is done?”