Accra runs out of petrol

There were unusually long queues of vehicles at most fuel stations in Accra yesterday as the metropolis was hit by  petrol shortage.

On a day transportation fares had gone up by 20 per cent, diesel vehicle owners were the lucky ones to have fuel at almost all fuel stations in the national capital.

At the Accra Sports Stadium Shell filling station, impatient drivers, eager to get their share of the now scarce commodity, were in a long winding queue that stretched as far as the Freedom Monument, near the Independence Square.

“I used the little fuel I had in my car to drive from Teshie to this place. I have been looking for fuel since morning,” a not-too-excited Mr John Aidoo told the Daily Graphic.

The Supervisor of the station, Mr Desmond Darko, said it had earlier reserved some of its stock for its customers but had to give in as more and more people drove there to queue for fuel.

“We placed the order, but the supply is not coming in. We place orders for fuel every three days but there has been no response yet. We don’t know what is going on,” he added.

At the Adabraka Total filling station, near the Roxy Cinema, only diesel was available. 

The situation was similar at the Total Station, near the Trust Towers.

An attendant, Mr Davis Sarpong, said there was diesel but that for three days premium petrol had not been available.

He said there was no sign fuel was coming soon, as the orders placed by the station were yet to receive positive responses.  

At the Total station at Osu, near the Ebenezer Presby Church Hall, the Engen and Champion stations on the Kojo Thompson Road, the attendants virtually sat idle, occasionally telling customers that there was no petrol.

A frustrated trotro driver, Daniel Odoom, wondered why there was no fuel, especially on a day fares had been increased.

NPA speaks
In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Head of Communications at the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Mr Steve Larbi, attributed the crisis to pressure on the supply chain.

According to him, there were more than 30 million litres of fuel in the system, with more being discharged.

“There are only a few petrol tankers supplying the whole country and so after supplying in Accra, they have to move to the regions and then return,” he explained.

The Chief Executive of the Association of Oil Marketing Companies (AOMC), Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Duah, confirmed the fuel shortage and blamed it on the delay by vessels to timeously deliver the product, reports Sebastian Syme.

He explained to the Daily Graphic in an interview yesterday that whenever the vessels delayed in coming, fuel shortage arose.

He added that what could also be responsible for the problem was that the bulk distribution companies (BDCs) failed to deliver the product on time.

At a meeting with oil marketing companies (OMCs) yesterday, the NPA assured stakeholders that the issue would be resolved in the shortest possible time.

Business Plan
Mr Agyeman-Duah indicated that what the country needed was a business continuity plan (BCP) which the private sector would be encouraged to champion.

He expressed the resolve of industry players to push for that plan which, when implemented, would help bring to an end the occasional shortage of fuel in the country.

Fuel consumption
Ghana currently consumes 42 million litres of diesel and 32 million litres of petrol a week.

Chase Petroleum
The Chief Executive Officer of Chase Petroleum, Mr Daniel Amoah, in a separate interview, however, painted a positive picture, saying his station had enough fuel and expressed surprise at the news of the shortage.

He added that he had not heard of the shortage, since, for him, business was going on at his outfit.

In a related development, commercial drivers yesterday increased transport fares by 20 per cent, following increases in the prices of petroleum products.

However, they asked the government to give them concessions on fuel price increases, reports Caroline Boateng.

They said fuel constituted a major component of transport operation and, therefore, any increase in the price of the product could have negative effects on their business.

They added that although they were private business people, increases in vehicle income tax, driver and vehicle licensing fees, taxes by the various assemblies, as well as fuel price increases, were constraining their businesses.

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