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Fuel prices go up four times in two months – COPEC laments

The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) is advocating for a review of the price stabilization and recovery levy to forestall further increases in petroleum products.

Petroleum products have been increased about four times in the spate of two months.

COPEC attributed the situation to the Coronavirus pandemic and the current situation in Texas.

Winter storms knocked out about a dozen refineries in Texas, leading to a sharp run-up in prices of fuel.

“Ghanaian pumps over the past 2 months have seen about 4 different spots of increases of about 9% cumulative variance and was our expectation that pump prices would ease downwards from the month of March.”

“However, these price increases seem far from over due to the current situation in Texas and overwhelming heating requirements for crude and Gasoil across the globe as prices continue to surge by the day.”

COPEC believes the application of the levy will cushion consumers from any further increases.

“It is our understanding following from consultations with a good number of Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) that, a downward review of the price stabilisation and recovery levy will most likely cushion the market and will forestall any further increases though it wouldn’t absorb everything as some market players have already started increasing pump prices due to the pressures the price escalations on the world market presents currently.”

Below is the statement from COPEC

CHAMBER OF PETROLEUM CONSUMERS GHANA

ACCRA

25/02/2021

FUEL PRICES SET TO GO UP AGAIN BY BETWEEN 2-4%

REMOVE THE PRICE STABILISATION NOW TO CUSHION THE EFFECTS OF INTERNATIONAL MARKET PRICES AND THEIR IMPACT ON PUMP PRICES.

International Oil Prices for both crude and refined oil has surged by more than 12% from around $470/mt-$512/mt representing a difference of around $42/mt for both gasoline and gasoil

Whiles crude has moved from $59.57/barrel (Brent) as of 20th February to $67/barrel as of today 25th February 2021, due largely to the recovery of the global economy from the harsh effects of the Corona virus pandemic as well as the power crises in Texas which has seen a reduction in oil production by 4million barrels a day.

This knock off translates to about 40% of United States oil output along with the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPECs) continuous cuts of around 9.2 million barrels per day of oil supplies due to a projected decline in demand globally from the 2nd quarter. (Energy Information Administration, 2020; Oilprice.com; momr.opec.org).

These surges in oil prices (Brent) translates to about $41 variance or increase in prices of finished products ( both petrol and diesel) on the platt trading platform, thereby effectively increasing prices from the BDC or importers position which is taking a huge on the various oil marketing companies who are also likely to pass on these increases on at the local pump prices even before first pricing window of next month starting from Monday the 1st of March, 2021.

These increases on the international markets to translates to about 21p/litre at the local pumps and is likely to reflect on the Ghanaian petroleum consumer within the next few hours even before the start of the next pricing window in March.

The cedi within the period has however performed quite well, appreciating against the dollar though nominally. The Bank of Ghana as at 16th February pegged its interbank FX rate of Ghana Cedi to US dollar at Ghc 5.7597.

Analysis of the indicative prices of Gasoil and Gasoline on the market indicates, both gasoil and gasoline currently sell at an average of Ghc 5.11 per litre from earlier figures of around 4.70/litre as of December ending at some pumps though others also quote a bit higher than the market averages.

These current prices are likely to see between 12-24 pesewas increases even before the 1st of March due largely to the price escalations on the international market.

It is our estimation that the pending increases could be averted through the application or review downwards of the Price Stabilisation and Recovery Levy on the price build-up of between 12-16p/litre to cushion the market in order to potentially prevent these possible increases likely to reflect at our local pumps anytime soon.

Ghanaian pumps over the past 2 months have seen about 4 different spots of increases of about 9% cumulative variance, and was our expectation that pump prices would ease downwards from the month of March.

However, these price increases seem far from over due to the current situation in Texas and overwhelming heating requirements for crude and Gasoil across the globe as prices continue to surge by the day.

It is our understanding following from consultations with a good number of Oil Marketing Companies ( OMCs) that, a downward review of the price stabilisation and recovery levy will most likely cushion the market and will forestall any further increases though it wouldn’t absorb everything as some market players have already started increasing pump prices due to the pressures the price escalations on the world market presents currently.

We further call on the Government and the Ministry of Energy to ensure the local refinery in Tema is brought back to productivity as soon as possible to ensure petroleum security as geopolitical developments across the globe seem pretty turbulent and could get worse by the end of the 2nd quarter.

Signed.

Duncan Amoah
Executive Secretary

Source: citi

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AirtelTigo shareholder loans not passed on to government – Ursula

Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful

The Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has disclosed that shareholder loans of AirtelTigo were not transferred to the state as part of its takeover of the company.

Other creditors have either written off loans advanced to the company or slashed down the liability, Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful also said.

The Government and the parent companies of AirtelTigo, Bharti Airtel Ghana Holdings B.V. and MIC Africa B.V have concluded negotiations and signed an agreement to transfer the shares of the company to Ghana.

This was after the company’s departure from the Ghanaian market in October 2020 as announced by Airtel and Millicom.

The agreement transferred all customers, assets and agreed liabilities of AirtelTigo to the Government of Ghana.

Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful noted that “the shareholders of Airtel and Tigo are not passing on the shareholder loans that were advanced to the company.”

According to her, “that is one of the main items that was hurting the balance sheet of the company.”

“So 100 percent of all the loans have been forgiven, more or less. They are not seeking the repayment of those loans.”

Among the notable liabilities was a $100 million facility from Standard Charted Bank.

But according to Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful “the company is now only saddled with 50 percent of that liability.”

“These measures also helped free the company from the debt burden that it was under,” she added.

The minister assured all local creditors of the company that “we are going to sit down with them and look at ways in which we can assist the company to meet its obligations towards them.”

AirtelTigo serves around 5.1 million subscribers and offers direct and indirect employment opportunities to almost 10,000 people.

Source:citinewsroom

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Utility tariff hike: Using generators may become cheaper option – Ben Boakye

The Executive Director of the Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP), Dr. Ben Boakye says regular tariff hikes in Ghana may compel many to rely on generators since it may be cheaper than relying on the national grid.

According to him, this is an impending challenge that needs to be considered in the debate on whether utility tariffs should be increased on not.

Speaking on The Point of View on Citi TV, Mr. Boakye said increasing the tariffs Ghanaians pay to access electricity and water is not the ultimate solution to the challenges utility companies face.

“The more tariffs we pile up, the more competitive the grid becomes… Before the oil prices went up, generating your own electricity was cheaper than hooking onto the grid. We are now at the point where we are almost at par. So if you increase it [tariffs] and it becomes much more beneficial to turn on your generator, those who have generators will use it and the grid will become redundant and that also comes with its own cost,” he said.

He suggested that utility companies, particularly those within the electricity distribution chain, should concentrate on fixing challenges within their distribution system rather than chasing after tariff adjustment which will amount to nothing if the systemic problems are not fixed.

“Some balancing act needs to be done but most importantly, fixing ECG and the distribution problem is what is critical at this point because if power is sold, and you are not able to recover the money, you cannot pay GRIDCo, you cannot pay ECG for the system to function,” he added.

Ben Boakye suggested that the financial issue can be addressed by getting an investor to help improve the operations of the power company.

Don’t increase tariffs – CUTS International

Meanwhile, Appiah Adomako, the Director of CUTS International, an organization working in the area of consumer protection, has kicked against the proposal for tariff increment.

He said the utility companies making such demands should be instructed by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) to fix the financial loopholes in their systems before their proposal is considered.

“I still think that the regulator, the PURC, should allow these utility companies to go back and fix all the things that can be fixed at their end, collect all revenues that are outstanding before allowing them any increase in tariffs.”

He said the demand for an increment in tariffs must be thoroughly scrutinized by the PURC and must be granted based on sound reason.

Source: citinewsroom

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Ghana is low-middle income country; IMF’s classification presents ‘narrow view’ – Prof. Quartey

The Director of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) at the University of Ghana, Professor Kwesi Quartey, says the World Bank’s description of Ghana as a low-middle income country is a more accurate classification of the country’s economic standing.

According to him the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) classification presents a narrow view which does not give a fair account of the country’s standing.

Speaking on Eyewitness News on the back of claims that the IMF has downgraded Ghana’s economic classification from a low-middle-income country to a low-income developing country, Prof. Quartey said both internationally recognized bodies assess countries very differently and have different classifications which must not be confused with each other.

“The IMF classification looks at fiscal data whereas the World Bank classification looks at income per capita, in other words your GDP (total income); if we were to share it equally across the population, what will be each person’s share? That is what we call per capital income… [The IMF’s classification is] a narrow way of defining a country in terms of its economic status,” he said.

Some social media posts and news reports said the IMF in its April 2021 Fiscal Monitor forecast report had downgraded Ghana’s economic classification but Citi News’ checks reveal that the claim is false.

Prof. Quartey, who is more appreciative of the metrics used by the World Bank in its country classification said, “let’s not confuse these two. They are totally different. We are not a low income country. We are a low-middle income country per the World Bank’s classification.”

“The World Bank classifies countries according to their per capita income so if your income is above a certain threshold, then you are classified as a middle income or if it is below a certain threshold then you are a low income country… According to the World Bank classification, we are a low-middle income country,” he indicated.

He further explained that the latest biannual IMF report at the center of the controversy still shows Ghana as having a respectable economic position amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to him, Ghana was on a good track and previous IMF reports confirmed this prior to the outbreak of the pandemic.

Reacting to the question on whether Ghana’s economic classification could or should affect loans granted the country, he said while borrowing could be problematic for the country, it is also important to take a loan to tackle urgent issues that will be productive and yield good results for the clearance of the debts.

“We need to fight this pandemic so we live to see tomorrow so if government borrows to spend, of course it is a problem but it is not too much of a problem. We have to look at the broader picture on what benefit that will yield to the Ghanaian economy and for me, that is the way to go. Borrow but borrow responsibly, invest into productive activities, that should be able to pay off the loan,” he noted.

Source:citinewsroom

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