Fuel Tanker Drivers Stage Demo

Members of the Ghana Petroleum Tanker Drivers’ Union in the Western and the Central Regions embarked on a peaceful demonstration against the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) in Takoradi yesterday. The drivers alleged that the NPA had stopped them from lifting fuel, particularly diesel, from depots in Takoradi for onward distribution to the various filling stations in the two regions. According to the drivers, although they had met all the standards set by the NPA, the authority had refused to allow them to transport the products from the Takoradi depots, making life very difficult for them. The drivers indicated that because of the harsh decision by the NPA, the over 200 tanker drivers had been rendered jobless. They indicated that the adverse effect of the decision would be fuel shortage in the two regions. “The NPA wants us to move from Takoradi to Tema to lift fuel there and drive back to the Western and the Central Regions to supply the product when we can lift the fuel at the depots in Takoradi,” the tanker drivers asserted. Scores of the drivers therefore converged near the GOIL installation along the Takoradi-Sekondi road to stage a peaceful demonstration against the NPA. Speaking on behalf of the tanker drivers, Bobbie Ansah, chairman of the union, disclosed that for close to six months, the NPA had stopped the tanker drivers in the two regions from lifting petrol from two installations in Takoradi. “We are also aware from the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) that the NPA had ordered that consignment of diesel that arrives in the region would be supplied to the mining companies”, he asserted. According to him, all efforts at convincing the authorities to address their grievances, had proved futile. “We wrote several letters to the authorities to help do something about the situation before things get worse, but to no avail, so we decided to demonstrate”, he added. He therefore, called on the government and the NPA in particular, to immediately allow the drivers to lift fuel from depots in Takoradi or else they would continue to hit the streets to protest against the authority. However, in a sharp rebuttal, the Public Relations Officer for the NPA, Yaro Kasambata, indicated that the authority was unaware of the issues raised. “What they claim is not true. We at the NPA haven’t given any directive to anybody so I don’t know how they have come up with that claim and accusing us falsely of something we haven’t done,” he said. According to him, the NPA is not the contractor of the drivers and therefore there is the need for the drivers to direct their concerns to the Oil Marketing Companies, which contracted them.