New Fuel Standard Announced By NPA Commendable But Unsatisfactory – ACEP
The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) is happy about the swift action taken by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) and the Ghana Standards Authority in collaboration with some stakeholders to improve on fuel standards in the country. The NPA announced yesterday that it has agreed with stakeholder to improve the regulatory standard for diesel from 3000PPM to 500 PPM effective January 2017. The authority also said that importers would be allowed to import products with ultra-low Sulphur content at 10PPM. Whilst this represents significant improvement in the standards, ACEP believes that a bold decision to benchmark Ghana’s standards against the European standard will most clearly define the leadership role NPA has taken and to accelerate sub-regional alignment to cleaner fuels. Again, the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors (CBOD) has articulated that the alignment with European standards will absorb the logistical cost associated with neutral standards such as 500PPM which the NPA has proposed. ACEP emphasizes that the 500PPM announced is not satisfactory in view of its negative implications for our environment, our health and our vehicles. It is curios why the NPA can put the national regulatory standard for fuel quality at 500PPM and yet proposes to industry to import fuel at 10PPM. If it is convinced that 10PPM is the optimal standard that assures consumers of high quality fuels, why did it put the national standard at 500PPM? This shows that the NPA can do more to raise the standards further. In deed, we call on the NPA to consider benchmarking our national standards to the European standards. It is refreshing however, to see that industry (BDCs) are rather willing to move to higher standards as they always did against national regulatory standards. We want to commend the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors (CBOG) for accepting that the currently national regulatory standards pose serious danger to lives. We are further satisfied by the determination of industry to import fuel with higher standards than what the industry regulator is going for. We are wondering whether the position taken by NPA is due to regulatory fatigue on the part of our regulators, logistical failures or simply disrespect to fuel consumers. It is unacceptable for industry to be more compliant with international standards than the industry regulators who are supposed to be setting the rules.