Monday, 6 April 2020

NPA fleecing 98% LP Gas users - Mould

LPG Marketers to run Gas Recirculation Exercise | Starr Fm



An energy expert is awed as to why the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) will be fleecing about 98 percent of consumers of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) only two (2) percent consumers to enjoy. 



The NPA has introduced a GHp13.5 new Cylinder Recovery Margin during the last Petroleum Pricing window. The new levy or margin is to help the LPG Marketing Companies offset aspects of the cost involved in procuring and branding cylinders for the new energy policy, the Cylinder Recirculation Model (CRM) which is currently being piloted in two assemblies, thus, Obuasi and Kwaebibirem Municipal assemblies.



The new margin adds up to increase the price of LPG at the pumps at the expense of consumers nationwide, despite only two assemblies are benefiting now. Since the announcement by the NPA, many Ghanaians are at a shock for such decision at a time when global citizens are facing economic hardship amidst COVID-19 mitigation measures being implemented by nations.



"Why the decision to immediately burden all consumers (even those outside of CRM pilot and operational regions), with the margin? Why should consumers outside the new policy's pilot regions pay now?", Alex Mould, former NPA and GNPC CEO have quizzed in a statement he shared in reaction to the introduction of the new margin.



Not only is the energy and financial expert is worried about the charging of all LPG users for only 2% users to benefit from a new policy but also he believes the timing is bad. 




Below is the full statement:


WHY MUST 98% of LPG CONSUMERS PAY NEW MARGIN TO BENEFIT ONLY 2% - ALEX MOULD TO GOVERNMENT




We understand the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) introduced a GHp 13.5 Cylinder Recovery Margin during the last Petroleum Pricing window.


This is bad timing by the Authority;  considering the current health crisis the last thing the consumer needs is to be burdened with this margin during such difficult and tumultuous times. 


As such, the NPA owes the general public a thorough and detailed explanation. We understand they've engaged stakeholders in 10 out of the 16 regions but I still can't fathom why the rush to introduce the new margin when there's not enough literature out there to educate and prepare the minds of LPG consumers. 


For starters, why the decision to immediately burden all consumers (even those outside of CRM pilot and operational regions), with the margin? Why should consumers outside the new system's pilot regions pay now? 

This distribution system is being given a trial run in the following pilot sites: Kade in the Eastern region and Obuasi in the Ashanti region, which currently account for less than 2% of total LPG usage.


However, as the Cylinder Recovery Margin has been introduced nation-wide, this connotes 98% of consumers are paying for the benefit of the 2% i.e. those within the two pilot regions.


Silently slipping the Cylinder Recovery Margin into the pricing model with no prior communication is not only unfair but comes across as deceitful. 


Especially at a time when prices have fallen and the benefit should accrue to consumers!!!


Some other questions that the NPA needs to answer include the following:


- Is there a roadmap that can be shared with the public to understand the complete rollout plan?

- How will the margin be collected, and what accounting mechanisms are in place to ensure transparency and effective disbursement measures? i.e. Payment Accounts, Responsible parties for disbursement, etc.  

- Is there a communication plan for the public to learn the guidelines regarding usage, phase-out, and replacement of current cylinders?

- Clarity on why consumers who have already invested in ownership of cylinder(s) are being unlawfully charged for new ones with no additional benefits?

 - How will current cylinder owners refill their cylinders in this new recirculating model?

- Are cylinder owners now stuck with redundant cylinders that can not be filled? There should be some sort of cylinder exchange or replacement plan, with a buy-back or exchange mechanism; so existing cylinders will automatically be replaced, free of charge, in this recirculation exercise. 


These are mind boggling questions that I've researched myself but surprisingly found little or no answers on the internet nor the NPA's website.


The LPG Marketers have called for a withdrawal of this new LPG margin. Yet, the NPA continuously insists that the new LPG margin did not result in LPG price hikes.

 

It's a disingenuous and inconsiderate Regulator who disregards the plight of consumers!!! 


END


Signed

*Alex Mould*

*04/04/2020*

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