AOMC protests against black marketing of petroleum products

Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Duah

Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Duah

The Association of Oil Marketing Companies (AOMC), has expressed grave concern over what it describes as an escalating black marketing of petroleum products in the country, and has given the government 48 hours to take a decisive action to halt the menace.

If the government fails, the group has threatened to take actions that would force the government to act against the menace which it describes as a major threat to the economy and national security.

At a press conference in Accra, the AOMC said the illegal sale of petroleum products continues to rob the nation of colossal money through tax evasion, destroying legitimate businesses and causing unwarranted job losses.

“Since 2016, our market has been inundated with black marketing of petroleum products in large quantities, in a manner that is beyond imagination,” said Mr. Kweku Agyemang-Duah, Chief Executive Officer of the AOMC who read the group’s statement.

He explained that “the menace began as an imperceptible black marketing activity in early 2016, rising gradually to the latter part of that year but seemingly subsided after the 2016 general elections, only to resurrect beyond comparable measure from February 2017”.

As a law abiding group which respects state institutions, he said the association had over the period “written to, consulted with, had dialogue and deliberations” with the National Petroleum Authority and the relevant ministries and agencies on the menace on countless occasions.

While the relevant bodies keep assuring the association that they are working on addressing the issues, he said, “these unscrupulous people keep escalating their activities on a daily basis in broad daylight in a manner that defies logic and destroys the business of our members”.

He said apart from the adverse effect on the petroleum industry, he explained that the government risk losing over 1billion dollars by close of the year as a result of the illegal petroleum trade, adding that last year, the state lost nominal tax/levies revenue of about

GHȻ 850million due to a nine per cent drop in the sale of legitimate petroleum products by the oil marketing companies, when sales ought to have increased by three per cent.

Already, he said an alarming 19 per cent drop in volumes has been recorded since February this year.

Among other methods, he said the illegal trade take the form of diversion of export products for landlocked countries which attract little tax, onto the local market, illegal discharging or dumping of petroleum products on the market from uncustomed vessels, illegal diversion of non-taxed industrial products for sale as petrol, tanker-to-tanker transfer of illegal products, and sales of illegal products at unauthorised locations.

“Currently, our members who  are genuine operators and have invested heavily in fuel stations and depots are struggling to pay debts to the banks due to the dwindling volumes as a result of the black market trade,” he said, adding that some of OMCs are folding up and about 4000 direct job workers could be laid off by the end of this month if the situation doesn’t change significantly.

Given the gravity of the situation, he said “we are giving the government 48 hours to bring the menace to an end”.

“We firmly believe that the government has the requisite authority, tools and relevant resources such as the security agencies to stamp out this menace within this period.

“We also believe that our regulator, the security operatives and government agencies know the culprits, and that they should act without fear or favour,” Mr. Agyemang-Duah stressed.

 

 

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