The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) says beyond the introduction of the monitoring system by the government, prosecution of perpetrators is key to addressing the country’s fuel smuggling challenge.
Ghana currently loses billions of Ghana cedis to such illegal activities and in response to this, the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), launched a National Fuel Monitoring system last week to address fuel smuggling.
But according to the Executive Secretary of COPEC, Duncan Amoah, although the move is commendable it cannot sufficiently address the challenge.
“Unfortunately, it will take more than these devices or applications to curtail the fuel smuggling. The human element contained in the fuel smuggling activities is quite a huge one. It will be prudent if persons found to the involved in this are arrested and prosecuted to send a further signal to persons engaged in this activity. These devices have been around for some time, unfortunately, the guys still are able to find some time to go round them and still beat the system and evade these taxes.”
He added that “We think that beyond the launch of the monitoring system, we should be able to also see official aggression in ensuring that these fuel smuggling syndicate are effectively rendered impotent and the state is able to recover the revenue that it so desires to be able to carry out its developmental programs.”
As part of efforts aimed at eliminating illicit activities associated with the transportation and effective distribution of petroleum products across the country, the government introduced the National Retail Outlet Fuel Monitoring System.
The system will also help reduce revenue losses within the petroleum downstream sector.
Already, data from the National Petroleum Authority, show that between 2015 and 2019, the government lost over four billion Ghana Cedis in tax revenue as a result of illegal activities in the petroleum downstream sector.
Speaking at the launch of the National Retail Outlet Fuel Monitoring System by the National Petroleum Authority, Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia hinted that the move is an effective distribution system essential to the economic growth of the country.