The Executive Director of the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC), Duncan Amoah, has added his voice to calls for the revival of the Tema Oil Refinery.
According to him, Ghana remains exposed to external shocks in the petroleum industry if it does not take the necessary measures to store crude internally.
He noted that if TOR is operationalized the country can be cushioned from international price shocks.
Speaking on Citi TV, Duncan Amoah said, “the most critical thing the policy side should contemplate at this point is to restore those institutions [Tema Oil Refinery and Bulk Oil Storage and Transport Company] because of safety net [issues].”
He also noted that Ghana as an oil-producing country is spending a lot of money on fuel importation. He noted that these funds if reversed can help deal with the current depreciation of the cedi.
“You cannot continue to be an oil-producing country and kick out your refinery. If we knock out the refinery, what it simply means is that you are going to depend on Europe for your economy to run because virtually what your vehicles and engines would consume would have to be imported and that explains why the Ghanaian cedi has never been able to perform well because if you’re importing $450 monthly for petroleum products alone, you can imagine how much it takes away from your economy.”
He also calls on government to as a matter of urgency address the current surge in fuel prices.
“We have argued that by any means necessary, get TOR back on stream because it will give you the fuel security you need and reduce your logistical cost in importing.”
Duncan Amoah further noted that if nothing is done to address the issue of fuel smuggling in Ghana, it may lose out on projected revenues.
“[If nothing is done] We’ll have a situation where trucks will start crossing in from Togo and what it means is that your volumes in Ghana, which the taxes will be collected on, will dwindle. 10 years ago, the reverse was the case, people used to smuggle from Ghana to Togo. You can’t stop it because the profits are quite huge. The fall-out is the projected revenue that you expect to get from your petroleum taxes, you may not get it because, in your neighboring countries, it is cheaper,” he said.