Regional News of Friday, 1 August 2014

Source: Daily Heritage

Fuel thieves on rampage in Northern Region

Some nation wreckers are taking advantage of the fuel shortage that has hit the Gushegu and Chereponi districts of the Northern region to smuggle hundreds of gallons of petrol and diesel to neighbouring Togo under the pretext of supplying the areas hard hit by the scarcity.

The phenomenon is forcing tractor operators who are the backbone of agriculture in these farming areas to fold up their businesses as they are not getting the required amount of fuel to power their engines.

Whereas a gallon of petrol goes for Ghc16.00 in Gushegu, the same is sold at Ghc12.00 at Chereponi.

Malaba Nayl Me, a tractor operator, who spoke to the DAILY HERITAGE in an interview, expressed worry over the increasing smuggling of limited supply of diesel to neighbouring Togo, given that the area has been hit by fuel shortage for almost a month.

“The smuggled fuel is used to fuel tractors that plough the commercial farms in Togo, but some sell it for high profit over there,” he added.

Touching on how it was affecting their business, he tersely hinted that “as for the shortage, it is collapsing our business.”

A fuel operator, Abdul Gafaru, told the paper that the area has been experiencing fuel shortage for the past four weeks, adding that the worst of their disappointed clientele are the tractor operators who are folding up their businesses.

He said they now hire vehicles to transport their fuel supplies from Tamale and Yendi but, it comes with additional cost.

“We purchase six to ten gallons and that is what we supply to motor riders and a few tractor operators in this community.”

According to him, they pay Ghc30.00 pay barrel for transporting the fuel to Chereponi and thus, they are left with no option than to pass the cost to the consumer.

“We add Ghc0.50p to a litre while Ghc1.20p to a gallon of petrol, therefore, while the original pump station price for a gallon of petrol is Ghc10.50, we sell it for Ghc12.00 and the litre Ghc3.50p,” he explained.

Mohammed Alhassan, a driver, lamented that any time the district is hit by fuel shortage, the local fuel operators overly exploit them.

“What they sell to you is almost a half a gallon and charges you exorbitantly. You cannot complain because there is nowhere to get one. It either you drive to Yendi or Tamale and its hours,” he posited.