The government will soon automate the distribution of premix fuel across all landing beaches in the country, to eliminate middlemen who hijack the distribution of the premixed fuel.
Premix fuel is an in-country blend of fuel made for use by the fishing industry. It has similar properties to gasoline, but with an octane number of 82. It is dyed-blue to differentiate it from other fuels.
With the new drive, only fishermen with electronic cards could access the product.
The measure is to ensure that the highly subsidised product is not diverted into other uses.
The digitisation is in adherence to a directive from the Economic Management Team (EMT), led by the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, who is championing the digitisation of government business.
At a national policy dialogue on the digitisation of premix fuel supply in Accra on Tuesday, Mr Abrokwa Asare, administrator, National Premix Fuel Secretariat (NPFS), said a pilot project had been rolled out at Nungua in the Greater Accra Region.
He said fishermen and canoe owners had been registered and provided with the electronic card with which they could buy the product.
The administrator said once there was subsidy on the product, which was sold on the open market, people, not fisher folks, could purchase it for other purposes such as fueling of generators, chain saw and pumping machines.
Such diversions, he said, cost the government, hence the need for the intervention to properly target its use and cut out impersonators.
Benjamin Boakye, Executive Director of African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), in his submission said the provision of the automated fuel dispensing and monitoring system would complement the already existing strategies being implemented by the government to address the shortages, and the challenges associated with the allocation and distribution of premix fuel.
He explained that the automated fuel dispensing system consisted of control units and fuel level sensors, adding that it also utilised the card system, where every canoe owner would be given a unique card for purchasing premix.
"By this, we will be able to weed out impersonators and people who do not need the premix, ensuring that only canoe owners get access in order to save the government money and also bring comfort to fishermen," he said.
He added that the system would also help the secretariat check hoarding, which created artificial shortage and denied fishermen access to the product.
The ACEP boss commended President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for his vision and leadership, and the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, for the guidance towards the implementation of the project.
BENEDICTA GYIMAAH FOLLEY & ANITA ANKRAH