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30.04.2020 General News

COPEC Warns Of Fuel Shortage If UNIPASS Issue Is Not Solved

By Eric Nana Yaw Kwafo
COPEC Warns Of Fuel Shortage If UNIPASS Issue Is Not Solved
LISTEN APR 30, 2020

The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) is urging government to resolve the UNIPASS issue to avert possible fuel shortages in the country.

The failure of Ghana’s new Customs Management System, Universal Pass (UNIPASS) to take off has even made matters worse with affected institutions calling on the government to bring back the Ghana Community Network System (GCNet).

In a statement from COPEC, they say “the ongoing challenges in respect of revenue settlement following from a decision to migrate onto a new platform (UNIPASS) from the existing GCNet platform is leading to a lot of challenges with petroleum liftings across depots in the country”.

While they lament over government failure to gradually roll out UNIPASS side by side with GCNet, they are warning that the challenges of the new system if left unresolved within the next 24 hours could and will certainly lead to serious fuel shortages across the country.

With the Oil and Gas companies experiencing serious revenue losses, COPEC is also calling on the government to provide support from the announced SME stimulus package.

“We call on the State to ensure the various Oil and Gas Companies are not left out in the announced SME support as a lot are reeling heavily under the harsh effects of our 3 weeks lockdown and subsequent low volumes and revenues which can increase job losses and redundancy within the country”.

Read the full statement from COPEC below:

RESOLVE THE GCNET/UNIPASS ISSUE IMMEDIATELY TO CURTAIL ANY FUEL SHORTAGES ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

The ongoing challenges in respect of revenue settlement following from a decision to migrate onto a new platform (UNIPASS) from the existing GCNet platform is leading to a lot of challenges with petroleum liftings across depots in the country.

Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and the Liquified Petroleum Gas Marketing Companies (LPGMCs) that had orders for supply of fuel to various outlets could not load a single litre of fuel all day on Wednesday the 29th of April due to discrepancies in the migration onto the new customs system ( UNIPASS ) at the depots.

A communique issued earlier yesterday from the NPA indicating a swift response to resolve the issue to enable the liftings seemed not to have yielded as most Oil Marketing Companies and the LPGMCs had to make alternative arrangements to accommodate their drivers who had been dispatched to load products from the depots across the country.

This situation if left unresolved within the next 24 hours could and will certainly lead to serious fuel shortages across the country.

One would expect that the new system would have been rolled out gradually side by side with the old system in order to help in facilitating a gradual phasing out of the existing system (GCNet) but the seeming haste in abandoning the old system whiles the new system (UNIPASS) is not fully ready and integrated is clearly leading to discrepancies being witnessed and we wish for a speedy resolution to forestall any possible shortages across the country.

Our attention has further been drawn to the cutting of staff numbers by some of our Oil Companies due to the adverse effects of Coronavirus on volumes and revenues through a lot of others have refused to lay off.

In light of the above, we call on the State to ensure the various Oil and Gas Companies are not left out in the announced SME support as a lot are reeling heavily under the harsh effects of our 3 weeks lockdown and subsequent low volumes and revenues which can increase job losses and redundancy within the country.

We further call on the Regulator of the downstream ( NPA ) to also work out a mechanism to ease down on the heavy license renewal fees charged to these companies to enable them to adjust to the vagaries of the Coronavirus outbreak on their businesses with the view to ensuring they keep fuel prices lower for Ghanaians without the tendency to increase or collect their full margins which can only lead to increases in pump prices.

Finally, we will like to reiterate an earlier call on the Ghana Revenue Authority to give a moratorium for the next 6 months to Oil Companies instead of the current one spanning up to end of July to file their returns later than the current 45 days since sales volumes across the board has reduced significantly and any attempts to enforce the earlier 21 or 45-day collections could only mean going to the banks to borrow which eventually places undue pressures on them to engage in all manner of games to survive.

Signed

Duncan Amoah

Executive Secretary

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