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27.03.2009 Editorial

Woyongo has shown the way

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Yesterday, we advised the government to review the fuel prices towards achieving some level of parity on the West Africa sub-region, due to the smuggling of the commodity to Ghana's neighbouring countries as a result of our relatively cheap fuel prices. We made it clear that our economy has not reached the stage where it can subsidize fuel prices for the benefit of other countries, albeit indirectly.

We also suggested that if it would be impossible to review the price upwards due to political ramifications, measures must be put in place to police our borders, in order to ensure that smuggling of the commodity is stopped. The Chronicle is happy that the Upper East Regional Minister, Mr. Mark Woyongo has already started putting measures in place by ordering the police and other security agencies to be vigilant at the borders.

Mr. Woyongo, who spoke with stakeholders in Bolgatanga recently, said with immediate effect filling station operators should not replenish extra tanks of cargo trucks from Burkina Faso and Togo, they should not sell petrol to individuals in jerry-cans or bottles except farmers who would come with coupons from the district or Municipal assemblies.

He said security officers would be attached to all the filling stations to monitor and regulate the sale and supply of fuel.

Also, informants who give information that would lead to the arrest of smugglers, when the fuel is confiscated and sold, fifty percent of the proceeds would be given to the informant and the remaining fifty percent paid into government chest.

Whilst commending the Minister for the strategy he has adopted to check the smuggling, we think the focus should not be on those buying the commodity in jerry cans or operators of articulated trucks with spare tanks alone.

Attention must also be focused on cars that shuttle between the border towns and villages. They might not be buying the fuel in jerry cans, but they can fill their tanks, cross the border to discharge it and then come back to fill again. We think if these cars were also put under surveillance, it would help stem the smuggling. It is the hope of The Chronicle that other regional Ministers would also adopt the same strategy to nip this canker in the bud.

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