….Warns Chinese company with 600 tankers
The Herald has picked up reports that, the management of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has written to “Sentuo Oil Refinery Limited (SORL) warning them against venturing into Petroleum haulage business.
The haulage sector is reserved for locals and the complaint is that, allowing the Chinese company into haulage, will kill local transporters who had been in the haulage business for years.
The Herald’s information is that the decision to write to Sentuo to warn it against its decision to deploy some 600 oil tankers to transport petroleum products across the country, is to protect indigenous Ghanaian transporters.
“This sector is reserved for Local participation. Allowing foreigners will kill the locals. We have warned we will not allow it”, an insider told The Herald.
Already, the company’s presence in production will seal the death and burial of the state-owned Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) which has not produced a drop of oil in many years, despite having a management, management board and huge number of staff most idling about.
NPA insider further told The Herald that the letter sent to the Chinese company, had explained that the transportation of the petroleum products is 100percent Ghanaian owned business.
This follows concerns raised by Tanker Owners Union (TOU) over the influx of tanker trucks owned by Chinese companies into Ghana.
Another has also been sent to TOU explaining that the authority currently does not have any application letter from the Chinese company to register oil tankers in the name of Sentuo.
But in spite of these assurances, doubts still linger in the minds of the members of TOU. The Chinese company which is into various products in Ghana including floor tiles, steel, cement among others might want to use Ghanaians as fronts to register these trucks for the haulage of fuel.
In a letter to the NPA, the union stated that it had conducted checks which revealed that several tanker trucks had been imported into the country.
The union expressed its concern that this would affect the livelihood of Ghanaians.
The letter reads, “We believe that transportation of refined petroleum products in the country using BRVs Dilya in the downstream sector must be preserved for local Ghanaian businesses. Over the years many Ghanaians have invested heavily into this sector and have acquired great experience and skills in the sector that have contributed in no small way to our socio-economic development.
“This threat by a Chinese Company to enter into the sector will add practically no value to the sector other than deprive Ghanaian businesses and the livelihoods of the many Ghanaians that are in the fuel transportation value chain using BRVs, not to mention the further consequential effect on repatriation of profits and the value of the Cedi and also undermining the multiplier effect of profit retention on the local economy.
“With the emergence of Sentuo Refinery which may supply over half of the volumes of the entire economy if a Chinese Company is allowed to haul petroleum products, this would have a devastating effect on Ghanaian businesses in the Downstream Industry. We serve this notice to you as the industry regulator that our Union takes a very serious view of.”
The development got private legal practitioner, Kwame Jantuah, warning authorities against the consequences of the influx of Chinese tanker trucks in Ghana’s oil downstream space.
The legal practitioner wants the influx checked to save local businesses.
Mr Jantuah in an Eyewitness News interview on Citi FM backed the calls of the Union and warned the government of the consequences of the importation of the trucks if it is not urgently checked.
“The downstream industry is one part of the oil value chain that has a lot of Ghanaians in there and so we must not entertain foreigners in the space. The Chinese just don’t do anything for nothing.
“They want maximum control to put in a refinery, they want to go into haulage, if they go into haulage, the next thing you will see will be petrol garages and the moment that happens, the local industry and companies like GOIL will be dead.
“We must prioritise local companies and not necessarily allow foreign companies to come in and kill local companies. The quantum of people that will go out of business will be more than the number of people that they will employ and the profit they will be making will be repatriated back to China. The repatriation will be done in Dollars and this will put a strain on the Ghanaian economy.”