GSA lacks requisite technical sophistication to protect the consumer – ACEP

The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has revealed that the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) lacks the requisite technical sophistication to protect the consumer, hence the move for government to, as a matter of urgency, step in to resource the Authority to enable it to perform its function of protecting consumers, in line with Chapter 2 (12) b of the NPP manifesto.

According to the energy think-tank, for some time now, the Tema Oil Refinery’s (TOR) laboratory has become the standard bearer of the downstream oil and gas industry, a situation that defeats the essence of separating business from monitoring of standards.

A report released by ACEP in Accra titled “Ghana Standards Authority fines Oil Marketing Companies: Government should take the Opportunity to improve on Consumer Protection,” noted the enviable reputation earned by the Authority as a credible institution in the sub-region, providing mentorship and testing of a wide range of products for surrounding countries which unfortunately is currently eroding due to the use of obsolete equipment during its operations.

The report also urged GSA to expose individual service stations found to have violated service standards as part of sanction review measures aimed at deterring Oil Marketing Companies from set standards.

While the report further advises GSA to undertake regular inspections (preferably on a monthly basis) at the pumps rather than the six-monthly exercise, it also called on the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) to  publicly name and shame brands whose franchises breach the industry’s service codes.

“This will incentivize franchisors and franchisees in the OMC business to internalize the consumer risks arising from their negligent and fraudulent operations. The GSA should undertake regular inspections (preferably on a monthly basis) at the pumps rather than the six-monthly exercise. This will increase compliance with industry standards among the OMCs and improve protection for consumers,” it stated.

Commenting on the country’s Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and the Fuel Security in the power sector, ACEP believes that LNG should not be sourced with pricing indexed to Brent Crude Oil, neither should the government tie itself to a long-term LNG price which has the potential to disadvantage the country in the face of the reality that LNG prices are expected to be stable with potential to further decline.

“ACEP continues to bemoan the planning process, communication of strategies by government, and ultimate realization of value for money when finally, the decision is made on the commercial approach to LNG supply,” it said.

Although the report lauds the government’s MoU with the Equatorial Guinea Government for 15 years of LNG supply to Ghana, it however expressed concern on how  the MoU will be activated, and blamed the government for failure to communicate  to citizens how the MoU will be operationalized.

“The fundamental question therefore arises: was the Equatorial Guinea deal a role reversal for state participation in the procurement of LNG, or the state is leading the business interest of private companies? Clarity is extremely important in this regard for citizens and industry watchers to know what government is actually doing. If the state negotiated on its own behalf, which entity will be the commercial vehicle: GNPC or Ghana Gas? In a similar vein, if it is private interest receiving the support of the state, which is not necessarily out of place, citizens ought to know. It is also not clear whether the deal feeds into the ongoing negotiations with Blystard Energy Management (BEM), Quantum Power (GPR) and West Africa Gas Limited (WAGL). Without official communication to answer these questions, speculations abound, chief among which is the supply of LNG to the Western corridor for onwards transmission to the middle part of the country,” it added.





Source: Appiah Acquaye

The Republic News Online

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