The Ministry of Energy, on Friday debunked allegations by the minority in Parliament that government had packed its cronies in the oil import and distribution business.
Dr. Kwabena Donkor, Deputy Minister of Energy, told journalists in Accra that since the National Democratic Congress (NDC) came to power on January 7, 2009, only two oil marketing companies (OMCs) and one Oil Trading Company (OTC) had been licensed.
He said when the previous NDC government left office in 2000, there were only eight OMCs, but as at December 31st 2008, the number had reached 47, meaning the NPP government licensed 39 OMCs in eight years.
"We have not raised questions about the phenomenal jump in the number of OMCs under the NPP, even though the increase accounts for complex challenges in the industry.
"It is therefore worrying that we will rather be accused of packing our cronies into the industry when in fact the evidence does not support those accusations."
The Minority in Parliament on Thursday held a press conference and alleged, among other things, that the NDC had licensed a number of companies without any experience in the oil industry, and that accounted for the shortages of oil being experienced in the country.
Dr. Donkor noted that licences for OMCs (retailers of products) and OTCs (importers of crude) were issued by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), adding that between January seven and now only two OMCs and one OTC, UBI, had received licenses.
"Even UBI was licensed under the previous government as an OMC, but they recently met additional requirements and were upgraded to an OTC," he said.
He noted that since NDC came to power, 831,664 metric tonnes of gas oil had been imported, out of which only 8,450 metric tonnes was imported by UBI, the newly licensed OTC.
Dr. Donkor said out of 431,901 metric tonnes of petrol imported under the NDC so far, only 15,035 metric tonnes was imported by UBI, adding that all of the kerosene importation was done by companies licensed by the NPP.
He said there were three bulk oil distributors in the country, all of which were licensed by the previous government.
Dr. Donkor noted that a number of companies had applied to the NPA for licenses as bulk distributors but none had been licensed yet by the NDC government.
"The accusation by the minority in Parliament is more of conjecture and imaginations than facts," he said.
Dr. Donkor said the NDC believed that Ghanaian companies should be given the opportunity to participate in the local businesses and so the government had allowed all the companies licensed under the NPP to operate unhindered.
On the issue of pricing oil petroleum products, he said it was in the purview of the NPA and not that of the Ministry.
Dr. Donkor also said the Minister of Energy, Dr. Joe Oteng, who is currently in China, would address the issue of ownership and acquisition of the Jubilee Fields on his return.
Speaking of China, he disclosed that since the discovery of the oil in the Ghana, at least 50 Chinese companies had expressed interest in exploration and production of oil.
The deputy minister also debunked allegations that he owned SCAN Oil, saying that SCAN Oil was a Scandinavian company, which does business in Ghana.
Mr. James Agyenim-Boateng, Deputy Minister of Information, said it was obvious from the deputy energy minister's revelations that the minority in Parliament only sought to peddle falsehood to tarnish the image of the government and ruling party.
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