HEAD OF Economic Regulation at the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Abass Ibrahim Tasunti, has stated that government can only subsidise petroleum products if it has the ability to do so despite the hikes in petrol prices in the country.
“Subsidy in itself is not really a good thing; but because you, the consumer, is only interested in the cheaper prices but you forget that if the price is cheaper and the product is not available, you will not like that.”
He said “For us, if the government wants to subsidise, the NPA as a regulator, cannot say it would not allow the subsidy to pass but it is for the government to analyse or assess its capacity to subsidise; but you must have the money before you can subsidise so that we don’t go back to the situation where you have to subsidise but there’s no money and there’s shortage.”
He further explained that the NPA can only advise government when it realises prices are rising especially, use the Price Stabilization and Recovery Levy to cushion consumers which the authority did last year.
Giving a presentation on the Price Formula in Ghana in a day’s capacity building training for journalists in the Northern Region on Monday, Mr. Tasunti said Nigeria, an OPEC member, decided to scrap subsidies on petrol by June this year.
“Why is Nigeria scraping subsidy on fuel? Most countries in the world want to scrap subsidies on fuel – it is not an easy decision to scrap subsidies on fuel but it is very good for an economy. About 70% of vehicles in Nigeria run on petrol; in Ghana we consume more diesel than petrol but in Nigeria it is the other way round because everybody is using the fuel that is subsidised. But because Nigeria produces a lot more crude oil than Ghana does, that is why they’re able to use the revenue they generate from the crude oil export to subsidise the petrol prices for consumers,” he explained.
Meanwhile, the NPA Head of Economic Regulation has said the Bank of Ghana is organising a special exchange rate options for the oil industry, asserting it used not to happen until three months ago, so that the rate at which the oil industry gets the dollar becomes predictable in order to help stabilise the price for public.
For his part, the NPA Head of Quality Assurance, Saeed Ubeidalah Kutia, gave an assurance that the authority will continue to put in quality control measures along the value-chain to guarantee the integrity of petroleum products in the country.