COPEC, ICU demonstration against rising fuel prices not noble- NPA

The National Petroleum Authority (NPA), has expressed displeasure at some groups’ decision to demonstrate against recent increases in prices of petroleum products at the pump by some oil marketing companies.

Following reports of the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) and Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU)’s intended demonstration this week, the NPA, in a press release, has considered the reasons behind the demonstration, “anything but noble”.

The statement said: “We do recognise that the right to demonstrate for or against any course is a constitutionally guaranteed one, and that COPEC will be acting within its rights as such.

We are, however, of the considered view that the reasons for the intended demonstration are anything but noble, considering the interventions made time and again by the NPA by way of Price Stabilisation measures over the past three (3) months.”

According to the NPA, even though prices of petroleum products have been on the rise on the international market and expected to directly impact domestic pump prices, government has taken steps to as much as possible, stabilize prices on the local market.

“Prices of petroleum products have been on the rise on the international market. For instance, the price of petrol and diesel on the international market has increased cumulatively by 17% and 19% respectively since November 2017;

Under the current price deregulation regime that has been in effect since July 2015, price volatility on the international market is expected to directly impact domestic pump prices because government has no direct control over setting the bi-weekly prices of petroleum products;

However, being concerned about the impact of the upward trend of international market prices on domestic product prices, government has since December 2017 used, upfront, the expected receipts from the Price Stabilisation and Recovery Levy (PSRL) in the price build-up as a mechanism to bring stability to prices,” the statement explained.

It further noted that, since the 1st of February 2018, the PSRL which hitherto were GHp12/Lt on petrol and GHp10/Lt on diesel have been completely neutralised to reduce the impact of rising prices on the international market on Ghanaian consumers.

“This means that government has forfeited the revenue it would have collected on these products for the period 1st-15th February 2018, in order to cushion consumers, and this intervention by government has brought down the expected increase of petrol’s price for the period 1st-15th February 2018 from 5.06% to 2.16%, and from 3.60% to 1.26% for diesel.”

The statement also emphasized that majority of Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) still have their prices unchanged while some have theirs reduced, reminding that, consumers are at liberty to purchase petroleum products from OMCs with competitive prices, as expected under a price deregulated regime.

“The consuming public is hereby assured that the National Petroleum Authority will continue to monitor the prices of petroleum products on the market, to ensure that they are set in conformity with the Prescribed Petroleum Price Formula.”

The NPA also called on interested groups to seek further clarity from the Authority, on the current state of petroleum product prices, to ensure that the public is well informed.