Sources have disclosed to Joy Business that government is set to release some GH₵150 million this week to pay importers of petroleum products.
Joy Business gathers the amount would be part of a total of about GH₵400 million debt owed bulk-oil distribution companies.
According to the bulk distributors, the state also has to pay them some $302 million for exchange losses incurred in bringing the commodity to Ghana from Europe.
Government’s inability to pay the debts on time together with Bank of Ghana’s challenge to provide enough dollars for commercial banks to support oil imports, has resulted in some shortages on the market.
A visit by Joy Business to some of the service stations revealed that most of them do not have diesel.
The shortage has already affected some critical industries in the country.
Managing Director of oil marketing firm, ZEN petroleum, William Tewiah said the situation is affecting their operations badly.
“We supply mainly to the mining companies…and they are prepared to pay the real price for fuel. Indeed they are charged a separate price for fuel. But in spite of them willing to pay the market price, we don’t have market for them”, he said.
In June this year, government’s indebtedness to bulk oil distribution companies caused severe fuel shortage across the country, as international suppliers of petroleum products put their stock under ‘lock and key’ until debts owed them are settled.
To compound the problem, local banks also declined to issue letters of credit (LCs) to the BDCs to pay off the debts to their international suppliers because the current debt was threatening their survival.