Chamber of Petroleum Consumers Ghana says [they] will resist any attempt by the National Petroleum Authority and the Ghana Standards Authority to drag the ‘implementation of the new cleaner standards on or before the month of July 2017’.
In a statement signed by the Executive secretary of COPEC-GH, Mr. Duncan Amoah: “Ghanaians were in September 2016 awoken to an open research on the the harsh dangers associated with the importation and use of high sulphur products whose effects on engines, the environment and public health were highlighted and exposed in a research by Public Eye and ACEP.
The research brought to light issues of high sulphur counts in our diesel standards as a country and it’s attendant implications or effects on the environment, health and engines.
The chamber had a meeting with some technical team at the NPA who explained they already have a programme in place to move from the poor 3000 sulphur parts per million to 1000 parts per million (ppm) though we insisted discussions with industry especially the importers or bdcs point to the fact they can actually do 50 ppm the next day if and only if the general policy framework and standards that currently allows the importation of the h.armful high sulphur content diesels.
Npa further explained they missed the 1000ppm target of 2015 due to the sub regional integration approach that makes it easier once everyone moves together due to logistics and other constraints likely to accrue if Ghana moved alone,
The issue of further investments in a desulphurisation plant for the Tema Oil Refinery being made also came up to which we insisted the cost to engines, health of Ghanaians and the environmental challenges these high sulphur products pose to all of us cannot wait any longer than it takes the govt to make the needed neccesary investments to bring TOR’s specs to the much cleaner sulphur grades
The npa further explained they have a road map to move to 1000ppm by close of year but then again one couldd see the lackluster feet dragging at play..
GHANA STANDARDS AUTHORITY
As the body mandated for the setting of standards in the country clearly also has explained they have a road map that seems way off the needs and demands of the exigencies of the times.
Authorities of standards authority insisted they have a lot a of considerations to adjust in setting new standards though they have all along been clear they have absolute interests in setting better and improved standards for cleaner fuels for the country subsequent to which a copy of the standards committee report on the sulphur issue was sent for our inputs which has been responded to accordingly forthwith.
CONCERNS OF GHANAIANS
Most Ghanaians today after the expose by acep and public eye have been asking serious questions and demanding to see an immediate halt to the currently poor standards and can thus not afford to wait forever knowing the harmful effects these products pose to public health, engines and the environment.
THE IMPORTERS POSITION
The bdcs have been clear from day 1 that they are committed to changing to much cleaner higher spec products which will not be anything difficult for them as long as the existing policy framework gets changed and new standards set that bans the current high sulphur grade products, at very little or no extra cost whatsoever to the consumer or end user.
From events over the past six months it has become increasingly clear that the various agencies responsible for quickly adjusting our standards to much cleaner products all agree it is safer and better to have cleaner products though implementation of such new standards seem to drag rather strangely.
The NPA, the GSA, CBOD, COPEC, ACEP, and all other interested bodies seem to have one common interest, which is to see the revision of the currently poor standards of our fuels though implementation of any such common agreements seem far off than one would have expected and wished for.
The National petroleum Authority, the body tasked with ensuring safer and cleaner products for ghanaians announced a January to deadline by which time Ghanaians should expect low sulphur products with an initial adjustment from the current 3000ppm to 500ppm in the month of September.
Copec and other public interest organizations rejected and resisted the announced 500ppm products insisting cleaner means cleaner and not dirty to bad as the adjustment suggested.
Subsequent to this was another standards committee meeting at which it was further reduced from the already announced 500ppm to the desired 50ppm standards.
The NPA after this assured the public of implementing 50ppm by January of 2017.
January 2017, Ghana misses the implementation deadline due to gazetting processes and phasing out of stocks with further assurances of a new deadline for the month of April.
Ghanaians patiently awaited the new April deadline only to be informed on March 27th the April deadline will also not be met and that July is the new deadline.
The apparent inconsistencies with this cleaner products for Ghanaians seem to erode every confidence the public had of authorities commitment in ensuring Ghanaians drive cleaner and better products.
We will use this medium to serve caution to both the Npa and the standards authority that we will vehemently resist ANY further attempts to delay or drag the implementation of the new cleaner standards on or before the month of July 2017.
We will continue to engage the appropriate bodies and institutions tasked with ensuring better standards for Ghanaians whiles intensifying public education on the above subject matter.
We also demand a better road map for the operations of the Tema Oil Refinery on what authorities intend to do between now and the July deadline to bring the production of the refinery to the new 50ppm standards.