…As Allocations Approved To Unconfirmed Landing Beaches
By Frank Amponsah
Information gathered by The New Crusading GUIDE indicates that people who are fronting or serving as middlemen between fishermen in some remote communities and the National Premix Fuel Committee are the ones engaging in the diversion of Premix fuel in the country.
Premix fuel diversion has been a topical issue with many accusations-and-counter accusations resulting in government taking decision to sanction some OMCs.
Facts available to this paper is that, some individuals have been fronting for fishermen in remote villages by gathering names with the promise to assist them get access to premix fuel anytime allocations are made.
According to information, these names are then sent to the District Assemblies where cover notes are issued to them to be sent to the National Premix Fuel Committee, which also gives approval recognizing these villages as newly created landing beaches and thereby making allocations forthwith.
It is however sad that neither the District Assemblies nor the National Premix Committee, headed by the Chairman follow-up to the various areas where the so-called landing beaches are created to verify their existence.
These middlemen, after receiving allocations failed to send the consignments to the various villages hence diverting them and selling them to make huge profits.
It is also emerging that these middlemen have succeeded with this agenda by winning the favour of the Premix Fuel Committee Chairman who does the approvals for all allocations.
Also, weekly allocation sheets available to this paper indicate that allocations within 2017 have been higher than previous years, thus 2015/2016.
Indications are that in 2017 the Premix Fuel Committee has made allocations in excess, more than necessary to the landing beaches leaving extra premix which have been subject to diversion.
This development has led to the unfortunate situation of diversion which is affecting the fishing industry.
In view of this development government, through the Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, National Petroleum Authority and the National Premix Fuel Committee, have decided to take some six steps to address the premix fuel diversion canker.
The Ministries and agencies after an emergency meeting over the matter resolved to among other things; ensure that the premix fuel committee ceases supply to some Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) found to be complicit in the diversion of premix fuel.
Among these steps, government will ensure that premix fuel outlets are reviewed and those that do not meet the requirements closed down, supply of premix fuel to the lake region will be restricted to the various ports (market centers), that there must be an improved collaboration between the Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, National Petroleum Authority and the National Premix Fuel Committee.
Also the NPFC will cease supply to the suspected OMCs whilst the NPA and the NPFC will continue investigations and those found culpable will be brought to book.
Over 230 cases of premix fuel diversions have been cited by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), since January 2017 to October.
The Ministry of Energy, in May 2017, subsequently ordered the Fisheries Ministry to probe the companies alleged to be complicit in the fuel diversion, but that did not happen.
Meanwhile, in another development, Abusuapanyin KojoYoyoo a former District Assembly representative on the Premix fuel committee in Apam has refuted claims that he has stolen fuel tanks.
According to him, there are attempts by the Committee in Apam to frustrate the activities of fishermen.
He explained in an interview that, unlike previously under the NDC regime, allocation coming to their area currently is 1500 litres to take care of over 500 canoes.
According to him, they ate aware that out of the 3000 litres being allocated to the area, 1500 litres goes to the Committee whilst the remaining 1500 litres are sent to the community.
This sometimes creates shortages leaving majority of fishermen unattended to.
Commenting on his alleged invitation to the police station over an alleged stealing of fuel tanks, Abusuapanyin Yoyo averred that since they began having problems with allocation, he decided to take his tank for filling so as to serve other fishermen.
“During the NDC government, the Committee has been selling the fuel to the fishermen. They collect GHC50 on every consignment. But whenever I fill my tank I give it out to them for free.” He said.
He said members of the Landing Beach Committee in Apam including; Nana Kwao, Ohene Aful, Kojo Yao Asare, Okyeame Obosu, Kwao Panyin and Ohene Ebo Kennedy have masterminded his police invitation.
According to him these members are working behind the scenes to bring the government down and that they must be removed before things get out of hand.
He indicated that these members are contributing to the woes of the fishermen in the area.