Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has reiterated government’s resolve to deal forcefully and decisively with the issue of illegal bunkering and the smuggling of petroleum products by sea into Ghana.
Government, he said, is in the process of formulating policies aimed at nipping the situation in the bud once and for all.
Dr. Bawumia gave the assurance when he paid a working visit to the Western Naval Command at Sekondi on Thursday February 15, 2018.
According to him, the visit was to enable him understand at first hand the issues surrounding illegal bunkering and the smuggling of petroleum products into the country, as well as discuss the challenges of the Ghana Navy in the fight against illegality.
He also took the opportunity to inspect a number of canoes specially modified by the illegal bunkerers to store petroleum products offloaded at sea.
According to the Chief Executive of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Hassan Tampuli, some of the modified canoes can hold as much as 120,000 litres of fuel, enough to fill two and a half Bulk Haulage Vehicles popularly known as tankers.
Mr. Tampuli disclosed that nine persons had been arrested and handed over to the police while four tankers had been seized in recent months.
Speaking to the media after the visit, Dr. Bawumia said government was disturbed by the increasing reports of smuggling, and that Cabinet was considering various models to fight the canker, which has a direct effect on efforts to move Ghana beyond aid.
He stated government’s determination to deal with the matter in a decisive manner, and warned those engaged in it to desist for their own good.
“We’ve had closed door discussions, and we’ve got some decisions that we’re going to take, and I believe that the task that President Nana Akufo-Addo has set for us, to try to understand this phenomenon and implement the policies that will stop it, I think it is a task that we are going to be very forcefully dealing with.
“I am leaving here quite well informed about the challenges, and have some good ideas about what we’re going to do. We will see the implementation soon,” he said.
Dr. Bawumia also underscored government’s ongoing efforts to adequately equip the Navy, especially with patrol boats, to address the challenges outlined by the Commander of the Western Naval Command, Commodore Isaac Osei-Kuffuor.
The Vice President was accompanied by the Minister of Defence, Dominic Nitiwul; Minister for Fisheries Elizabeth Afoley Quaye; Chief of Naval Staff Rear Admiral Peter Kofi Faidoo; Western Regional Minister Dr. Kwaku Afriyie; Deputy Energy Minister and MP for Effia Joseph Cudjoe; Deputy Minister for Aviation and MP for Takoradi Kwabena Okyere Darko Mensah; MP for Sekondi Andrew Mercer; Chief Executive Officer of the National Petroleum Authority Hassan Tampuli, and other government officials.
The Vice President later paid a courtesy call on the