Petroleum deregulation due June 15; Tarzan, ACEP raise legal issues

Some stakeholders in the petroleum sector are raising concerns about the absence of a legal regime to guide the implementation of the deregulation policy which is to begin by June 15, 2015.

Energy Consultant Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby popularly called Tarzan and Benjamin Boakye of African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) say the new policy must be backed by law.

Their interventions follow a decision by government and the National Petroleum Authority to leave the pricing of petroleum products in the hands of importers and marketers.

The development could see prices come down eventually as various players compete to attract more customers to their service stations.

Former Chief Executive Officer of the National Petroleum Authority, John Attafuah has applauded government for making deregulation work.

He charged the NPA to monitor the implementation of the policy to ensure it is successful.

“There will be competition. The NPA law is strict about capitalization and collusion between operators and I think that is what the regulator has to do correctly. If the regulator plays its role correctly we shouldn’t have any problem with that,” he said.

But in an interview with Joy News, Dr Wereko-Brobby said there is no legislative instrument backing the new policy.

“There is an already existing LI which regulates petroleum pricing in Ghana. That LI authorizes the NPA to fix prices and review prices according to well laid down set of indicators.

“If you are going to deregulate, either you must have a law which works within the NPA LI or you must have a new law which regulates the deregulation and then we know the existing LI doesn’t apply.

“We are a country of laws; we are country that lives by a constitution,” he stated.

Whilst applauding the new deregulation policy, the Programmes Officer at the African Centre for Energy Policy, Benjamin Boakye also agreed the new policy must operate within the laws of the country.

He said there must be clear guidelines that will inform the operation of the law, adding, “we cannot operate in a vacuum.”

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