Ghana’s downstream petroleum regulator, the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), has been urged to suspend the issuance of licences to new entrants into the oil marketing business in order to sanitise the sector.
The West African nation, currently, has 116 licensed Oil Marketing Companies with over 4,000 retail outlets.
This number, according to the Chairman of Association of Oil Marketing Companies, Mr Henry Akwaboah, is unacceptable for a country which has a land size of 238,535 km².
According to him, Ivory Coast, which has a land size (322,463 km² ) bigger than Ghana, has less than 1,000 fuel retail outlets so wondered why Ghana will have that huge number of fuel retail outlets.
In his view, the downstream industry is chocked and has become a fertile ground for some OMCs to engage in corrupt practices including evading of taxes due the state and, therefore, required a clean up like the government did in the banking sector.
Mr Akwaboah, who was speaking in an exclusive interview with energynewsafrica.com, said: “I’m proposing that, going forward, the NPA should stop issuing licenses to OMCs.
“I think the entry requirements should be more rigorous. It’s not just your ability to pay for the licence that should allow you to come. If, indeed, you want to come into the sector, demonstrate to the authority that you have about 10 service stations ready or 10 businesses or customers who are ready to buy from you. It is only then that I think NPA should issue you a provisional licence and based on your activities for the next year or two, you can get your full licence to operate,” he said.
Mr. Akwaboah, who said time has come for the NPA to stop allowing anybody at all to enter the oil marketing business, also stressed the need for Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to stop tax exemptions they give to some OMCs because they are abusing it.