Chamber of Petroleum Consumers and Ghanaians are extremely happy and welcome the decision by National Petroleum Authority (NPA) to reduce high sulphur level in diesel effective July 1. The NPA from July 1 would start implementing new standards of 50 parts per million (ppm) instead of current 3000ppm sulphur level in diesel product across the country.
Impact of high sulphur level in diesel is detrimental to the health of the citizenry. Bad air quality from fumes of dirty diesel in urban areas has become one of the major cause of morbidity and premature death world wide. Diseases such as Asthma, Cardiovascular disease, Acute lower respiratory infections, Lung cancer and infant mortality increasing in Ghana by pollution of high sulphur level in diesel.
UN environmental program (UNEP) report in 2014 reveals that acute respiratory infections consultations were the second highest cause of outpatient hospital visit in Accra. High sulphur level in fuel is harmful to engines of vehicles and to the environment as well.
The chamber of petroleum consumers Ghana (COPEC) applaud NPA for the planned introduction of the new standards of 50ppm effective July 1. However the chamber is displeased with the price hike that is associated with the implementation of the policy. Fuel prices have seen a downward trend resulting in drastic reduction of fuel to $45.54 per barrel.
Meanwhile Ghanaians are already paying more for dirty diesel than what those in the USA pay for clean diesel and therefore this assertion of paying more for clean diesel cannot be justified. A barrel of crude is selling at $45.54 yet consumers in Ghana pay GH17 ($4.1) per gallon of diesel. On the other hand in the USA , a gallon of clean diesel is sold at Gh10 ($2.48). Clearly Ghanaians are already paying more for the high sulphur content diesel in the country.
The chamber is urging NPA to keenly monitor the three months phase out period to get existing stock of 3000ppm of the depot to meet 50ppm. The chamber advocates that heavy sanctions is meted out to PSP (Petroleum Service Providers) and importers who indulges in bad trade and does not go by this standards. The reduction of sulphur level will help the country meet international agreed standards and goals and also Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
Odehyeaba Kwame Asare