Fuel shortage could hit the pumps from Monday if tanker drivers follow through with a threat to park their vehicles to protest poor service conditions.
The Ghana National Petroleum Tanker Drivers Union, which is made up of over 4,000 bulk transporters of petrol, diesel and other fuel types, has said its members will park their tankers until the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) addresses concerns relating to their working conditions and welfare.
“Enough is enough. We are no longer slaves to deserve this kind of treatment meted out to us. We are putting down our tools to see whether petroleum products will be carried across the country,” Chairman of the Union, George Nyaunu, told Adom News over the weekend.
“It will be in the interest of NPA to address our concerns. What will happen on Monday will have a big repercussion on the country,” he added.
The strike could plunge consumers into further frustration after the price of petrol inched past GHS5 last week.
The tanker drivers have also blamed the NPA for failing to implement with a directive by the Energy Ministry in May this year regarding the use of an Energy Commission manual.
“The manual which regulates transportation and delivery of petroleum products is yet to be used causing the drivers to grow apprehensive,” Nyaunu indicated.
Vice Chairman of the Union, Sunday Alabi, has also said the government is losing tax revenue through the NPA’s alleged failure to properly regulate the sector.
“Despite the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) last year, NPA is not playing its role as a regulator. Transporters (tanker owners) decide how much to pay us and this is even not done through the bank,” Alabi revealed.
The tanker drivers have stressed when they announce the strike on Monday, they will only return to work if the NPA ensures the full implementation of the Petroleum Producers Transportation Delivery Retail and Loss Control manual, which was formulated by the Energy Commission in 2004.
They further explained that not implementing the guidelines stipulated in the manual was having dire consequences for them, as their salaries and remunerations are not paid by transporters.
A petition by the Union to the Ministry of Energy has urged the government to ensure all filling stations implement the guidelines.
“In our meeting with the President at the Jubilee House dated August 16, 2017, we were directed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to meet you to resolve the underground shortage delivery at filling stations and also the flow metre used at Bulk Oil Storage Transport (BOST),” the Union said in the petition.
‘Secondly, as regards our salary and remuneration, Mr. Minister, several letters had been sent to your office without response. We hereby give you an ultimatum of seven days to address our grievances, else we’ll advise ourselves.”