17.02.2006 General News

Energy Minister explains cause of kerosene shortage

17.02.2006 LISTEN

Accra, Feb. 17, GNA - Professor Michael Oquaye, Energy Minister, on Friday said steps were being taken to improve the supply of kerosene. He said, "... the kerosene situation will be brought back to normal within one week."

"Kerosene will be delivered to the market throughout the week, including Saturday and we are liaising with the oil marketing companies (OMC) to ensure an even distribution throughout the country." The Minister was in Parliament to deliver a statement on the recent shortage of kerosene, which has hit some parts of the country. Giving a background to the kerosene crisis, Prof Oquaye said the crude distillation unit at the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) suffered intermittent shut downs "due to critical equipment failure in last couple of weeks."

"There was also a delay in the delivery of imported kerosene and aviation turbine kerosene. TOR also has no control regarding where products are delivered by the oil marketing companies......," he explained.

He touched on some recommendations made to revitalise the rural kerosene improvement programme and said all OMCs involved in the programme are to furnish the Energy Ministry with a list of customers who owe them and the total sums involved. He said the reporting system should also be strengthened and officers be trained to undertake routine inspection of kerosene sites, to assess supply, kerosene needs and tank distribution among others. He said in the long run, the OMCs should be assisted by the district assemblies to select kerosene re-sellers for effective distribution of the product.

The Minister said private investors with established businesses in the localities should be given priority, as they were less likely to default or abscond.

He said as part of the long-term recommendations, kerosene tanks should be placed in easily accessible areas such as popular marketing centres that are easily accessible to both suppliers and customers. Mr Stephen Balado-Manu, NPP-Ahafo Ano South, in his contributions, said it was unfair for the rural communities to go through hardships associated with the kerosene shortage since they had no assess to other energy supplies.

He said it was even more heart rendering that the rural communities could only enjoy electricity power after they have been asked to provide their own electric poles, while people in urban areas such as Accra, had easy assess to electricity because the poles were provided for by the government.

Mr Isaac Asiamah, NPP-Atwima-Mponua, said the practice of smuggling kerosene to neighbouring countries should be stopped to improve kerosene supplies in the country.

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