Comments by National Communications officer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Sammy Gyamfi that the government should immediately reduce prices of fuel because crude oil prices are dropping on the international markets show that he lacks knowledge on how prices of petroleum products are determined, Hassan Tampuli, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), has said.
The NDC and the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers Ghana (COPEC) have called on the government to immediately reduce fuel prices in the country to ameliorate the financial burden on Ghanaians.
In a statement released and signed 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 USD63.60 per barrel in January 2020 to USD36 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 that since July 2015, the central government lost the power to either increase or reduce fuel prices following the deregulation exercise that was signed onto by the previous NDC government.
Hence, he said calls by Sammy Gyamfi and others that the current government should immediately reduce fuel prices smack of people who do not understand petroleum issues.
He indicated that he would have been more surprised if these calls had come from persons including Mr. Alex Mould and Moses Asaga, all former CEOs of the NPA and still members of the NDC party because they signed the deregulation document.
The NPA in June 2015 officially announced that Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) would announce their ex-pump prices for petroleum products effective 16th June 2015.
That was the first step towards the deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector of Ghana by the NPA.
Mr. Moses Asaga, the then CEO of NPA gave the assurance of monitoring the application of the Prescribed Petroleum Pricing Formula. And that the defaulters in the provision of Petroleum Services would be sanctioned accordingly.
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 the government would intervene in the 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.”
He added: “…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 be this deregulation, have they asked him how it is done? Have they asked Mr. Alex Mould how this thing is done?
“If people like Honorable Moses Asaga and Alex Mould has spoken I would have been very sad but coming from somebody like Sammy Gyamfi…?”