COPEC Demands OMCs To Be Transparent In Fuel Prices To Avert Consumer Agitation
The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers COPEC is asking Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) to communicate details of petroleum prices pricing with transparency so that consumers are in the know and do not harbor suspicions they are being shortchanged.
This follows a press briefing to educate some journalists on the petroleum price build-up and pricing of petroleum products organized by the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors (CBOD). CBOD CEO, Senyo Hosi using the estimates of the CBOD Fair Market Price, Average Actual Market Price and the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) Benchmark Price from August 2019 to March 2020 explained that the actual average market price was higher than both the CBOD Fair Market Price and the NPA Benchmark Price.
Mr. Hosi further explained that in February 2020, the situation changed when the OMCs started pricing way above the CBOD benchmark, they were trying to recover a part of their losses in the past six (6) months, but they were still below the NPA benchmark price. It was only sometime around 5th March 2020 that the OMCs went above the NPA benchmark to recoup losses.
“OMCs have been selling below market price, which will mean either they or the Bulk Oil Distribution Companies (BDCs) are giving away a good part of their margin and taking a hit. It is for this reason that you will be hearing things like they’re trying to recover a bit of their cost.”
He said that consumers’ complaints that fuel prices are higher than they should be is fair but not balanced because prior to the OMCs recovering their losses, consumers had been buying at way lower prices while the OMCs were absorbing when prices were higher.
The Executive Secretary of COPEC, Duncan Amoah who had previously said at the press briefing that the recent increment of fuel prices was inadequate and unfair to consumers later acknowledged that the data provided by the CBOD to explain the pricing of fuel prices cannot be contested.
He charged the OMCs to be transparent with pricing of petroleum products to avert consumer agitation and keep consumers informed.
“The expectation is that if it has to go up by 20 pesewas (20 Ghp) and you do 15[Ghp] you should let us know but if we do not get this communication and then you suppress prices only to come back to us another day to say you’ve made certain losses so we should now pay for it then there would always be a challenge.”
Mr. Amoah called on consumers to be circumspect and look out for OMCs offering value for money.