The Head of Economic Regulation at the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Mr. Abass Ibrahim Tasunti, has said the authority does not determine the price of fuel in the country, as was being perceived by Ghanaians. According to him, the NPA was responsible for regulating the prices of petroleum products to ensure that suppliers and consumers get value for money.
He also dismissed suggestions that oil prices should come down because the country was also an oil producer, saying we consume more than what we produce.
Abass Tasunti made these pronouncements when he engaged the media during a working visit to the Upper West Region, which was pertinent on fuel pricing quality. He told the journalists that factors such as shortage, supply and demand of petroleum products were key drivers that determined prices of the products on the world market, which also influenced prices in Ghanaian markets.
According to him, the impact of the pandemic, hawkish nature of the US dollar, increased mobility were factors that drove world market prices. Mr. Tasunti also mentioned geopolitics, wars, political unrest, and natural disasters as other factors affecting the pricing of petroleum products.
“The misconception about pricing is that people think the NPA announces prices or determines the prices at which consumers pay for petroleum products, so we, on our own, will just decide that today consumers should pay for this or that. But the pricing of petroleum products is done through a formula and in this formula the key drivers of the prices of petroleum products is what happens on the world market.”
“It is directly influenced by the prices of the product on the world market. So, issues of the world market just as we are seeing right now; the shortage, the demand and supply issues, affect us,” Abass Tasunti said.
“We want people to understand that the regulator’s job is to ensure consumers get value for money. So, we don’t determine the price, but make sure that the pricing is done according to the formula,” he added.
Explaining why Ghana imports petroleum products when the country produces oil, Tasunti said Ghana’s 18% share of oil produced was not enough to cater for the country’s daily consumption of over 96,000 barrels.
According to him, on average, Ghana produces 150,000 barrels daily, but out of that figure, the country takes 18%, which translates to 27,000 barrels. The head of Economic Regulation at the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), said the country consumed more petroleum products than it produces, adding the fact that the country produces oil does not mean it would not be affected by price hikes.
Mr. Tasunti said, “Yes, we [Ghana] produce oil, but the oil we produce, Ghana does not own all of it. On average, Ghana produces 150,000 barrels of crude oil per day. But out of that, the government owns about 18%, which is about 27,000 barrels. As a country, we consume about 96,000 barrels of crude oil a day. So, you will know that we consume more than what government really owns. What we own is not anything to determine the prices.”
The media practitioners from the Upper West Region were equipped with requisite knowledge on petroleum pricing, formula and quality. The training sought to place the media practitioners in better positions to educate the public on hikes in the prices of petroleum products on both local and international markets.
The NPA’s director for Economic Regulations and Planning, Alpha Welbeck, said it was also to update participants on petroleum pricing formula, deregulation and fuel quality to enhance transparency.
She noted that transparency was key in petroleum pricing and quality as it would help to clear consumers’ misconceptions about the issue.