Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on Wednesday launched the National Retail Outlet Fuel Monitoring System to sanitise the supply and distribution of petroleum products in the country. The system, also known as an Automatic Track Gauging and Forecourt Transaction Control System, was an initiative of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), to help improve efficiency and profitability in the Petroleum Downtown Sector.
It would also block revenue leakages in the Petroleum Downtown Sector as the state lost an estimated amount of GH₵4.7 billion in tax revenue between 2015 and 2019 in the petroleum distribution value chain.
The system uses 3D Calibex Device to monitor fuel stock, aid in reading fuel tank levels and monitor sales data 24/7 at the fuel retail outlets.
Vice President Bawumia, who was the Special Guest at the unveiling of the Fuel Monitoring System, in Accra, lauded the board, management and staff of the NPA for leveraging on technology to bring efficiency in the distribution of petroleum products.
The event brought together key stakeholders in the petroleum downstream sector including; the Association of Oil Marketing Companies, captains of industry and Members of Parliament. Vice President Bawumia noted that taxes and levies on petroleum products enabled government to maximise revenue resource for funding infrastructural development and implementing social interventions.
Therefore it was imperative to block all revenue leakages in the petroleum downstream sector to ensure transparency and accountability, he added. He reiterated the Akufo-Addo-led Government’s vision of digitising the Ghanaian economy towards achieving the ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ agenda.
Vice President Bawumia stated that government in 2018 started digitisation of pre-mix fuel distribution for fisher folks and charged the NPA and the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development to complete the digitisation process this year, in order to halt the illicit activities in the sector.
He expressed optimism that the fuel monitoring system would be extended to the landing beaches to help in managing government’s subsidy on premix fuel distribution. Vice President Bawumia in January, last year, also launched the Electronic Control Cargo Tracking System to track and halt illicit activities in the distribution of petroleum products by oil tankers.
“The Government of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is resolved to digitize this economy to ensure effective revenue accountability and will fully support any state agency and initiative that will push forward the agenda for digitization,” he said.
Dr Bawumia outlined some policy directives to help address illicit activities in the petroleum downstream sector.
The NPA was tasked to halt the granting of third party supplies by Oil Marking Companies (OMCs) who are in good standing extending supplies to heavily indebted OMCs that are determined to evade payment of statutory levies and margins.
The NPA, in addition to collecting its margins, as efficiently as it does, must have a read-only access to the accounts held by the Ghana Revenue Authority on petroleum downstream revenue matters. This access would enable a thorough reconciliation and validation of stock movement and all related financial data.
That would enable the NPA to detect if there are variances between the taxes collected by the Ghana Revenue Authority and their official sales and address the issue promptly. It would also enable the tax associated with the volumes of stock to be accounted for. The NPA and the Ghana Revenue Authority must also harmonise their credit days.
As it stands now, the NPA operates on a 10-day credit period, while the GRA operates on a 25-day credit period and that do not help in reconciliation of tax collection. The directive indicated that for greater effectiveness, it was essential to synchronize the credit periods adopted by these two institutions.
Therefore, the new fuel monitoring system innovation would help minimize the tax variance between the tax due from the NPA’s official sales and the reported collections/receipts reported by the GRA.
Vice President Bawumia gave the assurance that government would continue to create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive and help the consuming public to receive sufficient petroleum products at all times, and ensure quality petroleum products at competitive prices.