Black Marketers Gaining Ground In The Wake of Soaring Fuel Prices
Table-top fuel dealers(stations) are gaining ground in Ghana following hikes in fuel prices. Consumers are shifting to cheaper alternatives from irregular sources. Unknown to them, this could come at extra cost as there are no guarantees on the wholesomeness of the alternative.
There have been more than 3 increments in fuel prices in the first half of 2022. At the beginning of the year, petrol and diesel were trading at an average GH¢6.9 and GH¢7.0 per litre respectively.
In less than two weeks in March, the prices of diesel and petrol increased by over 30 percent and were sold at ¢8.29 per litre at the pumps.
The average price of petrol and diesel at the pumps as of June stood at GH¢12.282 after selling at about GH¢6.5 in January.
The Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), describes the situation as most alarming.
Fuel prices at the local pumps shot up by about 5.4 percent from September 1, 2022, with petrol and diesel trading at an average of GH¢11.55 and GH¢14.50 respectively.
Mr. Abass Imoro, Head of Communications, GPRTU, has said the rate of increment in the last few weeks would seriously affect the income of commercial drivers.
“We are almost in a buy-and-sell business. The rate at which we are buying (fuel) now is alarming. It is really affecting our business,” he said on August 05, 2022.
Mr. Imoro said the leadership of the GPRTU would consider policy decisions that would limit the impact on its members, and these include an increase in fares.
In the face of current trends, some consumers are switching to cheaper alternatives, in the domain of black marketers.
A table-top fuel station is a back-door facility that sells fuel and engine lubricants for motor vehicles.
The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has advised the public against patronizing fuel being sold at table-top fuel stations in the country.
The NPA reiterates the quality of petrol and diesel being sold at table-top outlets could be compromised in quality through adulteration and the act cracks vehicle engines.
Fuel adulteration involves mixing fuel with other substances like water, and kerosene into diesel and solvents into gasoline for quantity and profit.
On August 29, 2022, the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) shut down a Shell fuel filling station at Atimpoku in the Eastern Region for selling petrol laced with water.
The move followed a complaint made to the NPA about a suspected contaminated fuel purchased at the aforementioned retail outlet located close to the Adomi Bridge at Atimpoku.
A team from NPA was subsequently dispatched to the location where a test confirmed the presence of water in the fuel.
In reaction, the NPA asked the station to fix the affected vehicles and compensate the customers.
Meanwhile, the incident that occurred at Atimpoku has been the order of the day in the activities of tabletop fuel vendors.
Fuel adulteration produces undesirable effects such as the fuel composition no longer corresponding with the standards and quality required for the optimal function of car engines.
According to the regulations of NPA, the National Authority Act, 2005-Act 691, the Authority is to regulate and investigate on a regular basis the operations of petroleum service providers to ensure conformity with best practices and protocols in the petroleum industry.
The authority flags the practice as a recipe for disaster.
Chief Executive of the NPA, Dr Mustapha Hamid indicates the authority is working hard to ensure high, quality standards through the introduction of electric cargo tracking and automatic tank gauging systems, among other interventions.
“It is the responsibility of the authority to regulate the industry and ensure petroleum products delivered to the final consumer are efficiently authenticated,” he explained, adding that companies that fell short of the set minimum benchmark are to be sanctioned.