The move is expected to prevent the illicit diversion of fuel in transit.

The centre is to be run by the National Petroleum Authority in collaboration with other key stakeholders in the petroleum downstream sector.

Speaking at the launch in Accra on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, Vice President Bawumia said the operationalisation of the Centre, which would track the movement of all petroleum products in real-time, would have several benefits, key among which is reduced revenue losses and greater efficiency in the control and distribution of petroleum products.

“As we all know, energy is critical to everything we do, from home to office and industry, and how countries manage their energy sector along the supply chain has become a very important issue around the globe. The government, therefore, places high priority on the development of all sources of energy and their distribution to ensure the availability of cheap, yet quality energy for the good people of Ghana,” he said.

He further explained that an efficient and effective petroleum products distribution system is essential to the economic growth of the country, and it is for this reason that government is committed to improving the movement of petroleum products within the country, whether it is by road, rail, water or pipeline.

Dr Bawumia expressed worry about the network of illegal activities going on in the petroleum downstream industry mostly in the form of bunkering, smuggling of petroleum products and the dumping of products meant for export on the local market.

“It is estimated that these illegal activities cost the country over US$200 million per annum in the form of lost direct petroleum tax revenue, subsidies that do not get to the targeted constituencies, and abuse in transport claims for transportation of petroleum products among others,” he said.

Adding that “To put this in perspective, the revenue loss of about $200 million translates into nearly GH¢1.1 billion annually, which is about 55 percent of the money needed every year to finance a full stream of Free SHS according to the 2020 Budget estimates.”

The launch of the 24/7 Command Centre had, therefore, come at the right time, he added, saying “This is yet another example of how we can leverage on technology to tackle some of the problems that continue to undermine our ability to build the Ghana we want.”