The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has dismissed reports that it is to blame for the dumping of ‘dirty diesel’ on the Ghanaian market.
A report released by the African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) and its partner, Public Eye, has revealed that Swiss commodity trading firms are exploiting lax regulatory standards to sell to African consumers.
But the CEO of the NPA, Moses Asaga says the comments are borne out of ignorance on the authority’s responsibilities.
“I think that all the comments are from a point of ignorance. I’d rather that the agencies particularly ACEP consulted the Authority to know the details on how the market entails before coming out with the conclusion,” Moses Asaga remarked in an interview with Citi Business News.
The report which surveyed eight African countries including Ghana, indicated that the sulphur content of diesel samples in such countries was more than 300 times compared to that of Europe, US and Kenya in Africa which has 50 parts per million (ppm).
But Moses Asaga explains Ghana’s standard of 3000 ppm falls within the regional margin quoted by countries like Nigeria and Ivory Coast.
He however added, a significant reduction in the sulphur content will cost Ghana about 300 million dollars.
“Our refinery in Ghana has been producing 1000 parts per million; as such if we want to decrease to 50 parts per million, that will imply the whole refinery will have to be re-configurated which may need a capital cost of between 200 to 300 million dollars,”
The report also cited the alarming health implications from air pollution. For instance, the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) estimates that by 2030, Africa will have three times as many deaths from traffic-related particle dust than Europe, Japan, and the US combined.
But Moses Asaga insists similar implications are associated with diesel with lower sulphur content.
“It is a blatant exaggeration to say that millions of people are being affected by that. We have sought permission from the EPA and that the emission test of Ghanaian vehicles which use diesel has so far been considered to be in the acceptable range,” the NPA boss added.
Meanwhile, the General Transport, Petroleum and Chemical Workers’ Union (GTPCWU), has expressed similar concern by ACEP that the NPA and the Ghana Standards Authority must step up to protect the lives of Ghanaians.
Commenting on the matter, the National Chairman of General Transport, Petroleum and Chemical Workers’ Union, Bernard Owusu explained,
“I believe the NPA as a regulator should intensify its work because I might say it is being weak in its mandate because most fuel offered for sale
at the various filling stations is substandard.”
Even though Ghana last reviewed its refinery systems in 2014, Moses Asaga is confident a possible review to reduce the sulphur content in diesel, could be carried out in a months’ time only of Ghanaians are willing to pay higher prices for ‘quality’ fuel.