By Maxwell Nkansah
The Chief Executive of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Dr. Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, has said it has come to the Authority’s attention that there are a lot of illicit fuel trade activities happening on the Aflao border.
He stated that the NPA has not licensed any importer to bring fuel through the Aflao border, and urged border officers to stop the importation of petroleum products by road.
Dr. Abdul-Hamid made these comments when he led the management of the Authority on a tour of the Aflao border to familiarise himself with illegal activities there.
The NPA boss said fuel smuggling is still a menace that denies the government the right level of revenue from the sector. “The NPA is an agency responsible for monitoring the downstream petroleum industry, and that combatting illegal fuel activity is central to what the Authority does,” he emphasized.
Dr. Abdul-Hamid said Ghana is the only country in the sub-region that consumes the highest quality of fuel, and it is important to maintain such a characteristic. He, therefore, called for these activities to be tackled and reduced to the barest minimum.
The Chairman of the Aflao Border Security Committee, Majeed Amandi, in reacting said unapproved entry points and routes on the Ghana-Togo borders are fuelling criminal activities – including fuel smuggling.
Mr. Amandi, who doubles as Assistant Commissioner of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority-Aflao Collection, indicated that the service is fighting the menace together with other security agencies as well as the NPA to intensify patrols and enhance means of combatting the long-standing problem.
The Assistant Commissioner noted that during patrol operations they observed illegal actors operate at midnight to avoid detection. He described them as ‘daring’ because they always find their way into the country’s borders and offload adulterated petroleum products into the Ghanaian market.
He said this is also resulting from the unavailability of special boats for patrols at sea during the night. The Chairman noted that border security agencies need working tools to combat the illicit trade.
The commander, therefore, called on members of the border security committee and management to be alert on such illegal activities and gave assurance that Customs will liaise with the agencies to ensure this menace is dealt with and hand over wrongdoers to the appropriate authorities.
The Volta Regional Manager of the NPA, Mr. Rasheed Dauda, said he appreciates the collaboration with the security agencies at Aflao, pledging to work closely with them to arrest the criminals.