Huge tones of fertilizers and petroleum products are smuggled from the northern parts of Ghana into Burkina Faso and Northern Togo despite the closure of the country’s borders and the heavy presence of the various security personnel.
Fertilizers purchased by the government of Ghana with the taxpayer’s money which are allocated for distribution to poor farmers in the northern regions of the country end up in Burkina Faso and northern parts of Togo along the borders with Ghana
Besides, some petroleum products like Diesel and petrol meant for sale in the Upper West and East regions are put into Jerry cans and moved in trucks across the borders into Burkina Faso and sold for higher profits and in foreign currency, i.e. CFA.
These activities have been ongoing for many years, but the rate has soared in recent months even with the closure of the country’s borders since February 2020.
So, the question is whether the smugglers compromise the integrity of the security personnel at the border zones or such activities happen at their blindsides.
According to the Planting for Food and Jobs Secretariat, of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana lost a whopping GHS120 million from unaccounted for fertilizer, diversion of coupons and fertilizer smuggling in 2017 and 2018 planting seasons.
Officer In-charge of Special Duties on Planting for Food and Jobs, Baffour Amoh Kofi II, admonished stakeholders in synergy to stop fertilizer smuggling adding that, the situation if not checked will threaten the sustenance of the programme.
“We have realized that if we do not stop this smuggling of fertilizer, in future, planting for food and jobs will collapse because after we reviewed that of 2017 and 2018,2019 and 2020, we saw that, diversion of coupons and unaccounted for fertilizer is costing government GHs120 million,” he lamented.
“I have written a report that is going to the Central Region. They were not able to account for 1,288 coupons over the period and if you multiply this by 68, it is about GHS87,584.00 and this happened in the regional office, not the district offices. So, if we don’t stop the smuggling and other things before we realize it, the programme will collapse. For you in the North, you have to wake up and help us to completely destroy this disease of fertilizer smuggling because this disease is like Coronavirus”.
The Upper East Regional Director of the MOFA, Francis Ennor indicated that the directorate is working to restrict the number of input dealers for the sale of government-subsidized fertilizer, particularly in fertilizer smuggling prone areas.
“So, this year we do not want to have issues of fertilizer smuggling in the region, thus the need for stakeholders to map out strategies to end the menace. As a result, in some districts we have restricted the number of people who can sell government-subsidized fertilizer this year, so ten input dealers have been selected and authorized for the sale of subsidized fertilizer in Bawku Municipal, Bawku West, Pusiga, Garu-Tempane, and Kassena-Nankana West Districts”.
Chief Executive Officer of PETASCO Enterprise, an input dealer, Peter Adongo also called on the public to join the fight against fertilizer smuggling in the country.
He admonished input dealers to foster tight collaborations with various security agencies to nip in the bud the menace of fertilizer smuggling.
In terms of fuel smuggling, the national Petroleum Authority estimates that Ghana loses about US$200 million every year due to smuggling of petroleum products and other nefarious activities in the petroleum sector every year.
These activities also cause the country to lose about US$12 million from the unified petroleum price fund annually
Kwabena Adu Koranteng