A Joy News’ Hotline Documentary, ‘Premix-Cartel’, has uncovered the underhand dealings of a cartel hoarding and trading premix at exorbitant prices.
The development accounts for artificial shortages in some communities, leading to hundreds of fishermen struggling to get the product to buy.
Others have abandoned the fishing business entirely resorting to basket weaving.
This is notwithstanding the fact that millions of litres of the fuel are supplied to fishermen annually, according to the Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Ministry.
For instance, in 2018, 72 million liters of premix was lifted from the Tema Oil Refinery to various landing beaches.
The product either does not get to the ordinary fisherman or gets to him at twice the approved price because of the illegal activities of middlemen.
These middlemen are aggressively buying, hoarding and selling premix fuel, against the law.
Their activities are hampering the regulation of the Premix Fuel Committee, which requires that a fisherman gets a maximum of one barrel of the fuel per month.
That quantity is for fishermen with large boats and canoes. And the fuel is to be sold directly to the fishermen and not middlemen.
Evidence shows this is not being done.
In the Central Region, getting a gallon of the fuel to buy can be a real struggle.
Given that the product is subsidised by the government, individuals have formed cartels that hoard the product and later sell it to fishermen at exorbitant prices. No one is checking these cartels. There are more boats in need of premix fuel.
At the Kwasi Gyan bay in Elmina, many boats have lined up. Kofi Agawu was seen by Joy News investigators, busily selling several barrels of premix gotten illegally.
He was not selling at the official price. Agawu has not been appointed by the premix committee and is not supposed to have access to this quantity of fuel. But he does. He sells a gallon at GH?15 instead of GH?7.30, more than twice the original cost.
Hundred meters away from where Agawu operates is another ‘premix hoarding lord’ who goes by the name Mensah O.B.
He is a middle-aged man and has been doing this trade for more than five years.
One can count at least 10 barrels of premix fuel he had hoarded. Like Kofi Agawu, Mensah O.B also sells the fuel at twice the original price.