Petroleum Black marketers still a threat to industry – AOMC

The Association of Oil Marketing Companies (AOMC) on Friday said activities of Petroleum Black Market dealers pose a threat to the country’s downstream petroleum sector and called on National Security to tighten the noose.

Mr Henry Akwaboah, Chairman of the Board of Governors of AOMC, said that the growing Petroleum Black Market could disrupt the national economy if not properly checked.

Mr Akwaboah told the Ghana News Agency after the launch of the fifth AOMC Annual Safety Week aimed to educate and remind industry players of the need to enhance their safety measures for the benefit of customers.

It also allowed the Oil Marketing Companies and LPG Marketers to review their performances in the past two years in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2021 AOMC Annual Safety Week is on the general theme: “Re-enforcing positive behaviour at the workplace to achieve the greatest participation of safety in the era of COVID-19.”

Mr Akwaboah said huge quantities of petroleum products continued to be sold outside official channels due to the activities of Petroleum Black Market dealers with active support of some unscrupulous security operatives, leading to huge losses in tax revenue.

He warned consumers to be vigilant as any petroleum product sold below the prevailing market price may not be a quality product.

Mr Akwaboah suggested that all petroleum products for both local and the export market should attract the same tax, but the caveat should compel all exporters to provide evidence of export of the product for a refund.

On the security front, the AOMC Board Chairman called for a revival of the multi-stakeholder approach to make the petroleum black market a high economic crime.

“We should raise the risk associated with dealing in the dark. Security must scale-up its monitoring role and adopt other undisclosed manoeuvring tactics to outwit the bad elements within, especially those at the borders who aid petroleum black market dealers.”

Meanwhile, Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Duah. AOMCs Industry Coordinator told the GNA that the Association rolled out measures, in collaboration with state security, to stop Petroleum Black Market dealers to save the country from continuous loss of tax revenue.

The AOMCs combat against Petroleum Black Market dealers also aimed at protecting OMCs, whose volumes of fuel sales had taken a nose-dive.

He said the fight would involve multi-stakeholder operations to make illegal petroleum activities a high-risk adventure in the country.

Mr Agyemang-Duah said the operation would also unmask personalities, including politicians, security operators, few OMCs, and any other entity who are supporting and benefiting from the illegal trade at the expense of the state and genuine OMCs.

On the AOMC Annual Safety Week celebration, Mr Agyemang-Duah said apart from safety at the pumps, the association would also educate members on contractor safety as that was often relegated to the background.

He said it was important to talk about the outfits as that could also result in accidents if not properly done.

He gave the assurance that security safety would also be highlighted as armed robberies at the pumps were increasing by the day.

Professor Alex Dodoo, CEO of the Ghana Standards Authority, who chaired the function said safety was a shared responsibility and called on all to be on board.

He appealed to members of the AOMC to employ health and safety officers in their companies to minimize accidents and create job opportunities.

The launch was also attended by stakeholders from Environmental Protection Agency, Ghana Police Service, Ghana National Fire Service, Ghana National Petroleum Authority, and Ghana Standards Authority.