“There was one perceived mechanism which was a guideline requiring any participant in the downstream sector to be 50 per cent Ghanaian, owned by a Ghanaian citizen. With this new development it is obvious that is not enforceable so we hardly have any mechanisms to safeguard the interests of local entrepreneurs,” Senyo Hosi, the acting chief executive of the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors, told CNBC Africa on Tuesday.
Vivo Energy recently announced that it had acquired a majority stake in Shell Ghana which it says will materially improve its operations. Dutch-owned Vitol and Helios Investment Partners each own 40 per cent of Vivo Energy, while Shell holds the remaining 20 per cent.
“The upstream sector has a lot of demands: we don’t have enough technology, we don’t have financial clout but for downstream industry, it is naturally expected that local entrepreneurs should be given the opportunity to build an industry on their own and that is something they can do,” he added.
The development has sparked concern over how it may negatively impact Ghana’s indigenous oil players and Hosi insists that it is up to government to fight for local businesses.
“It’s simple, we need to get government on our side, lobby the system and see how we can translate the intent of having the industry being run by indigenous entrepreneurs transferred into a legislative instrument, which will be enforced by the petroleum authority in Ghana,” he said.
“Local entrepreneurs in the industry are a bit at risk. They need to now look at other ways to safeguard their interests in the long-term because our downstream sector is now open to more internationals who can out-muscle them in any shape or form.”