The Chief Executive of the Ghana Petroleum Authority, Dr. Mustapha Abdul-Hamid and team from Ghana, on Friday paid a courtesy call on the Executive Chairman of the Sierra Leone Petroleum Regulatory Agency, (PRA) Dr. Brima Baluwa Koroma.
Hosting the team at the Agency’s headquarters at the British Council, Tower Hill Freetown, Chairman Baluwa Koroma on behalf of His Excellency, Brigadier Rtd. Julius Maada Bio, expressed gratitude for the visit as it manifests strong bilateral cooperation between the two former British colonies; Sierra Leone and Ghana.
Briefing the delegation on reforms in the downstream sector, Chairman Baluwa Koroma highlighted successes of the Agency under the New Direction Administration, citing a proactive monitoring and expansion of the sector.
He said that government has succeeded in opening up the sector which has paved ways for new players like the All Petroleum Products and key others to emerge.
“We cannot overemphasize the timeliness of this visit as this industry is under massive reforms.
Sierra Leone needs Ghana in every capacity and it is our desire to tap onto opportunities and experiences from Ghana that will enable us to overcome the emerging industrial challenges,”
“The sector continues to record sustainable revenue growth,” Chairman Baluwa noted.
Since the country is constraints with having regional tank farms, he said that storage capacity has been a major challenge as there is frequent replenishment of products.
Another challenge he discussed with Dr. Abdul-Hamid, was that of regulatory reforms since the PRA Act of 2014 need review to address current market situations. The PRA Boss requested for specialized training exchanges and staff capacity building.
In his response, Dr. Mustapha Abdul-Hamid commended the PRA Boss for doing much in reforming the industry from its moribund state it was few years ago.
“I thought I could be the one to share my knowledge with you. But you being a smart young-man, I have learnt a lot from our discussions today and so far, this team at PRA is on the right trajectory. Let me tell you I have been following your activities. Having seen the industry in Sierra Leone, there are lots of untapped opportunities that investors should grab and our regional collaboration will go a long way to strengthen our relationship and different economies as Africans. We are willing to support the downstream sector in Sierra Leone to get it right in whatever capacity and we hope to sign a fruitful memorandum of understanding soon,” he stressed.
Dr. Hamid noted that what has been helping Ghana oil industry is the active participation of government through the Ghana Oil Corporation, unlike Sierra Leone that depends wholly on private players that normally decide what happens. He said Ghana Oil is Government owned and market driven, market price can only move when G-oil moves prices. Government must take its destiny in its own hands asap.
“In Ghana we have over one hundred and seventy oil marketing companies. But if G-Oil don’t change price, they won’t change and because of our regional tank farms and zonalization policy, we as government have been able to control the price of oil products and manage our crisis. The best way your government can do is to have a stake in the industry,” he advised.
Comparing regional license fees, Dr. Hamid said that they charge US 750,000 dollars for Bulk Distribution Company license, while new registration for Oil Marketing Company license is US $50,000, unlike Sierra Leone that collects US $2,000 for Oil Marketing Company license p.a. He emphasised that PRA should be made financially viable to have the muscles for efficient regulation.
The visit was climaxed with exchange of gifts and a conducted tour of the Kissy Oil refinery.
Credit: PRA Unit