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23.08.2013 General News

'We Can't Fight Smuggling Of Petrol Alone'

By Ghanaian Chronicle
'We Can't Fight Smuggling Of Petrol Alone'
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'We are not the only agency involved in setting up a filling station.  First of all, to set up a filing station, the person must go to TCPD for zoning and rezoning approval, to MMDA's for building permit, EPA for environmental permit, GNFS for fire permit, no objection letter from ECG or VRA if applicable, and NPA for construction permit. Before one gets the building permit from the MMDAs, one is required to show the TCPD permit and the EPA, because they are the ones in charge of studying the location to see if it does not have any environmental defect. After all these processes, how can we say no, when we don't even have any regulation to this effect.'

The Unified Petroleum Price Fund (UPPF) yesterday told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the fight against the smuggling of petroleum products to neighbouring countries was a collective responsibility, since the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) could not do it alone.

“Fighting petrol smuggling should be a multi-sector approach,” the Coordinator of the UPPF, Jacob Amuah, noted.

Mr. Amuah made this observation yesterday, when he, together with some officials of the UPPF, appeared before the PAC to answer to questions raised by the Auditor-General, relating to the Fund's 2010 audited report.

This was in response to a question asked by David Tetteh-Assumeng on how his outfit intended to use funds raised from the sale of petroleum products to arrest the problem of smuggling of petroleum products out of the country.

According to the UPPF, a unit under the GNPC, the issue of petrol smuggling, which was gradually on the rise in the country, would be best cured if the agencies in charge of giving license to owners of filling stations come together as one.

That notwithstanding, he said, plans were underway to engage all the agencies involved in giving license to filling station owners, on how they could join hands to stop the smuggling of petroleum products.

He said the UPPF would also engage stakeholders in the discussions to help minimise the volume of cross border trade, which was contributing to petrol smuggling, and further come out with strategies to halt the anomaly.

'We will be constantly engaging these agencies to ensure we all agree on the best approach to stop petrol smuggling. This is because we don't have the sole mandate to stop people from putting up filling stations. We are the last people they come to for permit, and if all other agencies have granted them the permits, we cannot not stop them,” noted Mr. Amuah.

Mr. Amuah, in an exclusive interview with The Chronicle about the procedure of acquiring a permit to set up a filling station, said the exercise involved six different agencies, starting from the Town and Country Planning Department (TCPD) to the last agency, the National Petroleum Authority (NPA).

'We are not the only agency involved in setting up a filling station; first of all, to set up a filling station, the person must go to TCPD for zoning and rezoning approval, to MMDA's for building permit, EPA for environmental permit, GNFS for fire permit, no objection letter from ECG or VRA if applicable, and NPA for construction permit. Before one gets the building permit from the MMDAs, one is required to show the TCPD permit and the EPA, because they are the ones in charge of studying the location to see if it does not have any environmental defect. After all these processes, how can we say no, when we don't even have any regulation to this effect,' he questioned.

At Tuesday's sitting, the PAC Chairman, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, drew the attention of the NPA to aiding petrol smuggling in the country by issuing permits for the building of filling stations close to the land borders.

Sitting continues today.

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