The National Premix Fuel Secretariat (NPFS) has embarked on a digitisation drive aimed at ensuring transparency and blocking leakages in the premix fuel trade.
With the new drive, only fishermen with electronic cards can access the product, the Chairman of the National Premix Committee, Nii Lante Bannerman, has said.
He said the measure was to ensure that the highly subsidised product was not diverted into other uses.
The digitisation is in adherence to a directive from the Economic Management Team (EMT), led by the Vice-President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, who is championing the digitisation of government business.
Mr. Bannerman said under the pilot project at Nungua in the Greater Accra Region, all fishermen, and canoe owners had been registered and provided with the electronic card with which they could buy the product.
He indicated that the system would be scaled up in November this year to cover more landing beaches towards a full roll out in January next year.
The chairman said once there was subsidy on the product, which was sold on the open market, it could be purchased and used in any two straight engine, although it was dedicated for use by fishermen in outboard motors.
The product could, however, be used in any two straight engines, such as small generators, chain saw, and pumping machines.
Such diversions, he said, cost the government, hence the need for the intervention to properly target its use and cut out impersonators.
“The provision of the automated fuel dispensing and monitoring system would complement the already existing strategies being implemented by the government to address the shortages and the challenges associated with the allocation and distribution of premix fuel,” Mr. Bannerman said.
The Administrator of the NPFS, Nana Abrokwa A. Asare, explained that the automated fuel dispensing system consisted of control units and fuel level sensors, adding that it also utilised the card system, where every canoe owner would be given a unique card for purchasing premix.
“By this, we will be able to weed out impersonators and people who do not need the premix, ensuring that only canoe owners get access in order to save the government money and also bring comfort to fishermen,” he said.
He added that the system would also help the secretariat check hoarding, which created artificial shortage and denied fishermen access to the product.
It would help discriminate the allocation of premix fuel to the right hands and guide its use for the intended purpose, mainly fishing activities, Nana Asare said.
He commended President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for his vision and leadership and the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mrs. Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, for the guidance towards the implementation of the project.
The government established the National Premix Fuel Committee in July 2009 to supervise the administration and distribution of premix, a hugely subsidised petroleum product required by fishermen to power their outboard motors.
For effective management, landing beach committees (LBCs) were set up at various landing beaches to empower fishermen to operate premix fuel stations at landing beaches.
The secretariat was also created to service the committee in the allotment and distribution of premix, working closely with the Tema Oil Reﬁnery (TOR) to ensure the unrestrained flow of the commodity to fishermen around the country.
The refinery refines and loads the product onto tankers of the assigned oil marketing companies for distribution to the various landing beaches.
Upon a review of the system in 2009, the secretariat was reconstituted, the supply chain streamlined and the fisher groups allowed to form LBCs to manage the fuel sale points at the landing beaches.
The committees were allowed to use 53 per cent of the proceeds for community development projects.
Nana Asare said there were scores of ongoing projects around the country that the leadership of the secretariat was hopeful would inspire further development in the communities where they were sited.
He indicated that plans were far advanced for the execution of more projects before the end of the year.
“The secretariat considers the many shows of appreciation for the projects across the country as a testament of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development’s undeniable impact in fishing communities,” he said, adding that the secretariat remained committed to raising the bar even higher to further inspire growth and inclusive development.