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15.10.2008 General News

Diversion, Hoarding Of Premix Fuel To Be Checked

National Security in collaboration with the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) is taking steps to stop the diversion and hoarding of premix fuel meant for fishermen.

The steps include the issuing of receipts to loaded tankers for submission to officials at their destinations and the introduction of electronic devices on tankers to track their movements.

The Chief Executive Officer of the NPA, Mr John Attafuah, made the announcement when the executive of the Ghana Fishing Fuel Dealers, Retailers and Users Association paid a courtesy call on him at his office on the Spintex Road in Accra.

He said the measures were taken in response to complaints by fishermen about their inability to access the fuel.

Premix fuel is one of the petroleum products in the country that enjoy heavy subsidy from the government to make it affordable for the fishermen.

It also comes in the wake of growing agitation by fishermen across the country about the impact of the activities of pair trawlers in the country's waters, a situation that is seriously rendering fishermen jobless.

The meeting provided a platform for the executive of the association to introduce themselves to the relevant bodies, as well as to highlight some of their concerns.

Mr Attafuah said the NPA was alive to its responsibilities and working hand in hand with the appropriate authorities to ensure that all manner of frivolous activities in the petroleum sector were brought to a halt.

He assured the association that the authority was ready to advise the association on matters within its jurisdiction to ensure fairness and equity at all times.

He advised the members against the use of violence as a means of putting their grievances across, saying “dialogue is the best form of resolving grievances”.

Mr Philip Blessman, Executive Secretary of the association, expressed gratitude to the NPA for receiving the members.

He said the fishing industry was saddled with many problems, major among them being the sale of the premix fuel by some unscrupulous persons at prices far higher than what had been prescribed.

Mr Blessman said the government in its wisdom placed a lot of subsidy on the product to make it affordable for fishermen and also to make its impact on the prices of fish on the market.

However, he said, some people were using the product to enrich themselves at the expense of the majority of the people.

Mr Blessman described the move by the national security apparatus and the NPA to stop the practice and ensure fairness in the industry as laudable and pledged the commitment of the association to help expose those behind the fraudulent acts.

Story by Charles Benoni Okine

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