The Tanker Owners Union (TOU) and Tanker Drivers' Union (TDU) of Tema, yesterday embarked on a sit-down strike to register their displeasure at the move by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) to remove bulk road vehicles (BRVs) that are above 12 years from the road.
The unions alleged that the NPA wanted to phase out local transporters to make room for foreign transporters to take over the oil transporting business, but the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum has denied that speculation.
At a press conference yesterday in Accra, the Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, said the decision of the NPA to remove old BRVs was not to destroy the tanker business or deprive the drivers of their daily bread.
Rather, he said, the decision was to protect the lives of the tanker drivers and Ghanaians in general, since most of the BRVs were ramshackle.
Mr Buah said since the safety of the country remained a priority on the list of the government's agenda, things that would compromise it would not be tolerated.
Throwing more light on why there was the need for such a policy to be implemented, Mr Buah attributed most of the accidents that involved the BRVs on the road to the poor state of the vehicles.
According to him, since 90 per cent of the tanker drivers had accepted to comply with the new policy, 'I do not understand why a few people will threaten to attack those who have complied'.
Mr Buah said the ministry and the NPA were ready and willing to explain and dialogue with the leadership of the tanker drivers.
By Dominic Moses Awiah/Daily Graphic/Ghana