The National Petroleum Authority has rubbished all the five grievances by the Ghana National Petroleum Tanker Drivers, saying, their concerns are neither here nor there.

According to the downstream petroleum regulator, whilst it is not its intention to engage stakeholders in the downstream industry in a banter of words, it believes the appropriate media should be used to seek redress.

It is however inviting the union for a meeting to deliberate on the concerns raised.

“Accordingly, the NPA wishes to extend an invitation to the union and GTPCWU for a meeting to deliberate on the concerns raised by the Union”, it said in statement.

The five concerns raised by the Tanker Drivers Union are the need for the NPA to approve the 86 Gas Filling Station outlets, alleged Police harassments at check points, non-compliance to Oil Loss Control manual, Tanker Drivers’ remunerations and the issue of Covid-19 Fund.

The union because of the aforementioned demanded the dismissal of the NPA boss, Hassan Tampuli.

But the NPA statement said the Tanker Drivers Union have no case.

COVID-19 fund

For instance with respect to COVID-19 Fund, the NPA said it has no jurisdiction as to who in the petroleum industry receives covid-19 funding.

“We believe that this is a matter the union should take up with their employers which in this respect are the Tanker Owners”, it emphasized.

Tanker Drivers Remunerations

On Tanker Drivers Remunerations, the NPA said the General Transport, Petroleum and Chemical Workers Union (GTPCWU) of TUC has not been cooperative since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

“The GNPTDU has not been cooperative with the mother Union, GTPCWU on this matter and has stalled the discussions. As a result of the standoff, the Authority wrote to the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations to intervene. The issue is currently before the Chief Labor Officer for a resolution”.

Request to approve 86 Gas Filling Stations

The NPA noted that 17 out of the 86 sites had been granted “No Objection” permits (prior to 2017) to enable the applicants obtain the statutory permits to apply for construction permits.

An inspection of 55 out of the 86 sites has so far revealed that 34 sites had been developed and 21 sites undeveloped. Of the 34 developed sites, 23 did not have the NPA’s construction permit hence were constructed unlawfully.

The NPA emphasized that it is worth noting that four subsequent meetings have taken place with the union with the last meeting scheduled to take place on the 14th October, 2020 but called off due to the absence of the Gas Tanker Drivers Association.

Alleged Police harassments at check points

NPA responded saying, any driver who is in possession of the Fuel Delivery Form cannot be harassed by any police officer.

“It is therefore surprising for the union to accuse the NPA and for that matter Samuel Asare – Bediako of instructing the police to harass tanker drivers in transit. The Security and Intelligence Unit of the NPA upon receipt of intel on this alleged harassment engaged the concerned Regional Police Commanders on this matter.”

It added that the Gas Tanker Drivers have also been provided with telephone contacts to call in case they face any form of harassment from the police.

Non-compliance to Oil Loss Control manual

The NPA on 6th November, 2019 issued a revised version of the Petroleum Products Loading, Transportation, Unloading and Loss Control Manual otherwise known as Oil Loss Control Manual, which was developed with the active involvement of multi stakeholders.

The manual provides the right procedures for determining losses and, transit losses are determined by the OMCs or BOST per the procedure established in the manual. The same document also requires depots to correct the volume of petroleum product loaded at a reference temperature of 20 degrees Celsius.

This required the use of specialized flow meters to achieve this.

The NPA said the blanket claim by the Tanker Drivers that these requirements are not being complied with by the depots and OMCs is not wholly factual, adding, about 90% of the depots in the country are equipped with these specialized flow meters.