30.03.2005 Business & Finance

Govt increases freight margins for tanker owners

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Accra, March 30, GNA - Government and Tanker Owners on Wednesday managed a 67.1 per cent increase agreement in freight charges for the haulage of petroleum products from the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR). The agreement increased the freight charges from 130 cedis per litre to 200 cedis per litre, which goes into the unified petroleum price fund (UPPF), a policy aimed at ensuring parity in prices throughout the country.

The increment follows a 50 per cent increase in fuel prices that fixed petrol at 30,000 cedis per gallon.

Professor Mike Ocquaye, Minister of Energy, signed for the Government and Mr Ben Atsu-Agbomanyi, Chairman, initialled for the Tanker Owners Association.

Prof Ocquaye said,even though, the increment was not precisely what the Association wanted it was within the limits of what the Government could manage at the moment.

He put the margin increase at 53.8 per cent and the freight margin increase at 67.1 per cent being the cedi per litre per kilometre charge.

Prof Ocquaye explained that the upward adjustment had become necessary due to the recent increases in the price of petroleum products, adding; "the increase takes care of previous adjustments over the years."

The Association and the Government, however, disagree on the effective date of the agreement.

The Association is asking for the agreement to take effect from 18th February, but the Government wants it to be on the date of signature.

Mr Atsu-Agbomanyi thanked government for the adjustment, saying, "even though this figure is far below our expectations, we take this as a beginning and hope that we will see further increases in the future." He said this was necessary, as "even the new margins do not match our expenses. I hope that we can manage the current margins and hope things change soon".

Mr Atsu-Agbomanyi noted that Ghana had the lowest margins for fuel in the West African Sub-Region and asked that due attention be given to the issue.

He thanked the Minister for giving them a hearing, "noting it is the only way that we could all contribute to nation building".

The Association had asked for between 90 per cent to 150 per cent increase in the margins.

As things stand, The Ministry of Energy or Government would have to raise extra money from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to finance the deficit arising from the increment in the margins, which was not expected.

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