Play by rules or lose licence- NPA boss to Oil Marketing Companies

Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid (arrowed) CEO, National Petroleum Authority with executives of the AOMCs after the meeting

Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid (arrowed) CEO, National Petroleum Authority with executives of the AOMCs after the meeting

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, has said the NPA will not hesitate to revoke the licences of industry players who continually flout the rules.

Dr Abdul-Hamid said this at a meeting with board members of the Association of Oil Marketing Companies (AOMCs) at GIMPA last Monday.

The meeting was part of his stakeholder engagements meant to open channels of dialogue for the smooth operation of the industry.

“We shall not hesitate to revoke the licences of industry players who continually flout the rules.

“Over the years, the NPA has been too lenient with people who flout the rules, and this has given opportunity to many people to flout these rules with impunity,” he said. “We cannot all be in a conspiracy to run down our country and yet turn around and blame the government for what goes wrong,” he added.

Dr Abdul-Hamid said illegal bunkering, third-party supplies and failure to pay taxes and levies due the government were all gross violations of the law and henceforth, those found culpable would face the full sanctions as permitted by law.

He said it was in their own interest that the market was regulated properly, “otherwise when the industry collapses, your businesses will collapse with it”.

The CEO, whilst seeking the support of AOMCs in order to sanitise the industry, assured them the authority would itself play by the rules and ensure an even playing field. “The lawyers tell us that they who seek equity must come with clean hands,” Dr Abdul-Hamid stated.

He, therefore, urged them to play by the rules so that they would have the moral authority to demand same from the regulator.

The CEO of NPA said after 16 years of operation, the NPA Act (Act 691) would be reviewed to meet with current trends in the downstream petroleum industry.

Dr Abdul-Hamid said in reviewing the NPA Act, the licensing and inspections regime would be looked at to make sure that those who acquired OMC licences really had the capacity to operate in the industry.

He lamented the situation where many OMCs currently fell short of the requirements for holding their licences and said soon, all such licences would be revoked.

“As the industry is being sanitised, all those who have fallen short of the requirement will have their licences revoked,” he said.

OMCs’ plea

The Chief Executive of the AOMCs, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Duah, appealed to the NPA to take steps to check the activities of some new entrants who were taking advantage of some loopholes in the sanctions regime to make quick money.

Mr Agyeman-Duah said the failure on the part of the NPA to check such people was a disincentive to those who played by the rules. Mr Agyeman-Duah introduced Mr Felix Gyekye, the Vice-Chairman of the association, as the new Chairman following the resignation of its Chairman, Mr Henry Akwaboah.

For his part, Mr Gyekye said they were glad that Dr Abdul-Hamid was committed to tackling the problems of the industry head-on. He assured the NPA that the AOMCs would support the NPA to sanitise the industry.