Fears are being expressed about the registration of Bulk Road Vehicles (BRVs) to convey petroleum products across the country. A credible source, that spoke to The Chronicle, alleged that the registration of petroleum product carriers is being compromised.
The situation, apart from creating fertile grounds for easy diversion of petroleum products, and rendering its transportation a time-bomb, is also creating tension among registered owners of these vehicles.
The National Petroleum Authority ACT 2005 (ACT 152) requires all BVRs, apart from being legally registered, to have the following: Certificate of Incorporation and to Commence Business, (2), Company’s Regulations Code 8-82 3) Calibration Certificate for BRVs carrying white products and/or Non Destructive Test (DNT), (3) Certificate for BRVs carrying LPG, (4), Vehicle Insurance Certificate (Comprehensive), 5) Driver and Mate Accident Insurance Policy, (6) Goods-In-Transit (GIT) Insurance Policy, (7) Driver Vehicle & Licensing Authority (DVLA) Road Worthiness Certificate, (8) Testing Certificate from Road Safety Limited/State Transport Corporation.
The Chronicle, however, established that the above requirements are not being adhered to in the new registration of these trucks. It is alleged that some of the new trucks are owned by persons without registered companies and no inspections conducted on them as required, therefore, sidestepping safety matters.
In some of the cases, persons have been allegedly registered without vehicles or garages. Every month, the Bulk Oil Storage and Transport (BOST) moves 1,000 BRVs, with total product cost of GH¢200 million. The risk associated with the current trend is that the system becomes vulnerable for diversion, since some of these trucks do not have proper address systems to trace in the event of mistrust. On Wednesday May 3, 2017, The Chronicle blew the cover on the way an oil cartel operating in the petroleum sector was diverting fuel meant for export to the local market, without paying taxes to the government.
Their modus operandi, The Chronicle gathered, is to load petroleum products, gasoline and diesel from the storage points at the Accra Plains Depot (APD), Chase Petroleum, Tema Fueltrade, Sahara and Cirrus, using vehicles fitted with foreign registration plates from the Sahel states.
After leaving the depots, the foreign registered number plates are replaced with that of Ghana for diversion into tanker yards, which are dotted around the Tema Heavy Industrial Area, Kpone Barrier, Golf City and Bethlehem. Shockingly, waybills accompanying the commodity from the loading depots are conveyed to the nation’s designated exit points, and fraudulently recorded as having crossed our borders into the neighbouring states.
The Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Kwaku Kwarteng, speaking to the media in Tema earlier, declared the readiness of the government to combat the cartel in the local oil industry, identified as being responsible for, not only revenue loss to the state, but also smuggling sub-standard petroleum products into the country.