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21.02.2014 Business & Finance

Fuel Smuggling Heightens In Paga

By Daily Guide
Kwesi Ahwoi, Interior MinisterKwesi Ahwoi, Interior Minister
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A taskforce made up of personnel from the Ghana Police Service, the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Service (GRA), Ghana Immigration Service and other security agencies has been formed to tackle the spate of fuel smuggling along the Ghana-Burkina-Faso border.

The smuggling of fuel from Paga and Navrongo to neighbouring Burkina-Faso has become lucrative and many youth have abandoned their studies and petty trading to venture into the trade.

While the smugglers make huge profits, the State loses substantial revenue, as they do not pay taxes to government.

Reports said a total of 402 large jerry-cans containing fuel that were being smuggled to Burkina-Faso were intercepted by the Border Patrol Team between October 2012 and January 2014.

The consignment has since been sold and money paid into government coffers.

According to residents, large volumes of fuel are smuggled by armed gangs on daily basis from Paga through Dakola to Burkina-Faso.

For many security personnel at the border, the increasing rate of fuel smuggling is not surprising.

'How can government say it is worried that people are smuggling fuel from Paga to Burkina-Faso. Are they not the same people who issued permits to the many filling stations to operate here? How can a small town like Paga have over 20 filling stations? Were they thinking that these filling stations would serve vehicles in Paga alone?' a security person at the border, who pleaded anonymity, quizzed.

Speaking at the inauguration of the taskforce at Paga, Deputy Superintendent of Immigration, Awudu Issifu, said the spate of fuel smuggling is alarming in the area.

Smuggling of fuel across the border is on the rise because some unpatriotic persons are making huge profits, he said.

Mr Issifu also attributed the development to the presence of several filling stations between Paga and Burkina-Faso.

The smugglers have had a field day for sometime in the area because they are more armed and equipped with vehicles than the Immigration Officers who are supposed to patrol the porous border, the Deputy Superintendent of Immigration said.

From: Ebo Bruce-Quansah, Paga

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