Government’s Gold for Oil Policy Puts Ghana’s Bulk Oil Distributors in a Corner, Says Chamber Chief

Dr. Patrick Kwaku Ofori, the head of the Ghana Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors, has expressed concerns over the government’s gold for oil policy, stating that it has created an unfavorable situation for bulk oil distributors in the country.

According to him, none of them had anticipated such a policy as it places them in a tight spot in competition against the government.

The government’s gold for oil policy as a government strategy was borne out of the country becoming strapped of foreign exchange.

The policy is to enable the government directly exchange gold for oil while avoiding using foreign currency, particularly the dollar, as a means to control the country’s inflation.

Speaking on the policy and its impact on the oil distribution industry in the country, Dr. Ofori noted that the policy will have a toll on the regulators’ revenue generation, “because none of the BDCs or those BDCs who have paid their license fee did not necessarily pay for a license fee to be cornered a percentage of the matter.”

He said on PM Express Business Edition that “They want to be given the right climate to conduct their business. And also don’t forget these private entities also employ Ghanaians and they also pay their taxes.

“So it’s a bit of a tricky situation there, and the programme obviously impacted on private sector participation judging from how the private sector can also assess the proceeds of the revenue coming from the gold purchases.”

He however suggested that government could change its policy to allow private sector engagement.

“But if the government intends to change their policy with regards to the gold for oil and allow private sector participation and say that ‘well as a country, all our revenue that we’re going to generate from maybe gold export, we’re going to use maybe a percentage of it to finance our refined product importation.

“And by so doing, either through the Central Bank reactivating the forex option so that both the private sector and the public entities who are interested in importing refined products can go through those competitive processes to be able to have the product.’”

He also stated that another option was for the Bank of Ghana to surrender all gold proceeds and revenue in a way to guarantee forex availability to the commercial banks for all importers to have access to them.

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