CEMSE calls on NPA to deregulate Petroleum Price Fund to resolve tanker driver unrest

The Centre for Environmental Management and Sustainable Energy (CEMSE) has urged the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) to deregulate the Unified Petroleum Price Fund (UPPF) in order to address the ongoing strike by Ghana National Petroleum Tanker Drivers Union.

According to Executive Director of CEMSE Benjamin Nsiah, the wage inequality and uneven distribution of the UPPF funds among transport owners and oil marketing companies (OMCs) have been at the heart of the drivers’ grievances, leading to the disruption of fuel distribution nationwide.

“The NPA must liberalise the UPPF and let marketers and tank owners determine the price of transporting products. We believe that liberalizing UPPF will engender efficiency and kick out transport owners and marketers that do not take the welfare of their employees seriously.”

Key among the issues that have contributed to the current impasse as highlighted by CEMSE include:

1. Significant wage disparities, with some drivers earning over GHS 10,000 per month while others receive as little as GHS 1,700.

2. The NPA has increased the UPPF to 85 pesewas per liter, but the allocation to drivers has not been properly channeled to transport owners and OMCs.

3. The NPA does not have an effective sanctions regime to address transport owners and OMCs who underpay their drivers.

4. The NPA’s promise to deduct GHS 1,700 directly from the UPPF and pay drivers has not been fulfilled.

5. The Association of Oil Marketing Companies opposes the NPA’s plan for direct payments, arguing that the Authority is not the employers of the drivers.

CEMSE therefore recommended to the NPA to liberalize the UPPF, allowing market forces to determine transportation prices and incentivize efficient, driver-friendly practices. It also asked NPA to develop a comprehensive compensation framework for all downstream petroleum drivers in line with the Labour Act, and enforce it rigorously.

Furthermore, CEMSE recommended to  the NPA to publicly name and shame companies that underpay their drivers, and compel them to review their compensation structures.

“By deregulating the UPPF and empowering the market, we believe the NPA can foster a more equitable and efficient system that addresses the legitimate concerns of the tanker drivers,” Nsiah emphasized. “This is crucial for restoring stability in the petroleum distribution network and safeguarding the interests of all stakeholders.”

CEMSE call comes at the back of the ongoing strike by members of the Ghana National Petroleum Tanker Drivers Union declared an indefinite sit-down strike on Tuesday, May 21, 2024 demanding improved conditions of service.

By: Bright Yao Dzakah | Metrotvonline.com | Ghana

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