Ghana’s Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has launched a digital Command and Control Centre for Bulk Road Vehicle (BRV) and an Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS) to be run by the National Petroleum Authority in collaboration with other key stakeholders in the petroleum downstream sector.
Speaking at the launch ceremony in Accra on Tuesday, 14 January 2020, Dr Bawumia said the operationalisation of the Centre, which would track the movement of all petroleum products in real time, would have several benefits, key among which is reduced revenue losses and greater efficiency in the control and distribution of petroleum products.
“As we all know, energy is critical to everything we do, from home to office and industry, and how countries manage their energy sector along the supply chain has become a very important issue around the globe. The government, therefore, places high priority on the development of all sources of energy and their distribution to ensure availability of cheap, yet quality energy for the good people of Ghana.”
Dr Bawumia explained that an efficient and effective petroleum products distribution system is essential to the economic growth of the country, and it is for this reason that the government is committed to improving the movement of petroleum products within the country, whether it is by road, rail, water or pipeline.
He expressed worry about the network of illegal activities going on in the petroleum downstream industry mostly in the form of bunkering, smuggling of petroleum products and the dumping of products meant for export on the local market.
“It is estimated that these illegal activities cost the country over US$200 million per annum in the form of lost direct petroleum tax revenue, subsidies that do not get to the targeted constituencies, and abuse in transport claims for transportation of petroleum products among others.
“To put this in perspective, the revenue loss of about $200 million translates into nearly GHS1.1 billion annually, which is about 55 per cent of the money needed every year to finance a full stream of Free SHS according to the 2020 Budget estimates.”
The launch of the 24/7 Command Centre had therefore come at the right time, he added, saying: “This is yet another example of how we can leverage on technology to tackle some of the problems that continue to undermine our ability to build the Ghana we want.”
The Vice-President charged the NPA to enhance and sustain the already initiated technological interventions such as the Petroleum Product Marking Scheme, the Bulk Road Vehicle Tracking and Volume Monitoring System, the Enterprise Relational Database Management System (ERDMS) and now the Electronic Sealing and Cargo Tracking System.
The Chief Executive Officer of the NPA, Alhassan Tampuli, announced plans by the Authority to deploy Automatic Tank Gauging and Stock Management and Monitoring Systems at retail outlets in the country to give the regulatory authorities such as the NPA and the Ghana Revenue Authority, real time view of petroleum product stocks and movements at all retail outlets and depots in the country.
Deputy Minister of Energy, Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, gave the assurance of the government’s determination to address the capacity challenges facing the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company and the Volta Lake Transport Company in the distribution of petroleum products, indicating that the 98% of all petroleum products transported by road was on the high side.