President Akufo-Addo has appointed Dr. Mustapha Abdul-Hamid as the chief executive officer of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), one of the most sought-after positions in government.
The NPA oversees all operations in the multibillion-dollar downstream petroleum sector.
The appointment takes effect from 1 July 2021. The news was communicated in a letter dated 17 June.
Dr Hamid, 50, previously served in the first-term government of President Akufo-Addo as the minister of information and subsequently as the minister for inner-city and zongo development. He also served as the deputy national campaign manager for President Akufo-Addo’s successful second-term bid in 2020 and was in charge of campaign communications.
The NPA currently boasts over 5,000 service providers and, according to 2020 estimates, an annual sales value of between GHC24 billion and GHC28 billion (US$4-US$5 billion), which is roughly 7% of Ghana’s GDP. The industry works closely with international suppliers such as BP, Glencore, Vitol and Trafigura to supply approximately 80% of the petroleum products currently consumed in the country.
Dr Hamid will champion the mission of the NPA, which is to regulate, oversee and monitor the downstream petroleum industry in Ghana “for efficiency, growth and stakeholder satisfaction” and to ensure that its vision, which is to be a “catalyst for economic transformation and growth in Ghana”, is achieved.
Think tank boss
Dr Hamid succeeds Hassan Tampuli, the immediate past NPA chief executive, who was elected as the MP for Gushegu on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party in December 2020, and has since been nominated to serve as a deputy minister of transport.
Dr Hamid served as leading spokesman for Nana Akufo-Addo from 2008 until 2017, when he became the information minister and presidential spokesperson.
Before that, he was the executive director of the Danquah Institute and a lecturer at the University of Cape Coast.
Celebrated for his honesty and integrity, Dr Hamid has gained a reputation over the years as a trusted loyalist and close confidant of President Akufo-Addo.
Mustapha Abdul-Hamid entered Tamale Secondary School in 1987 to sit for his Advanced level examinations. In 1991 he entered the University of Cape Coast to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree, eventually majoring in religious studies.
He subsequently obtained an MPhil and a PhD in religious studies from the same university.
The institution that Dr Hamid will be leading was established by an act of Parliament, the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) Act 2005 (Act 691), to regulate the downstream petroleum industry in Ghana.
As a regulator, the NPA ensures that the industry remains efficient, profitable and fair and, at the same time, that consumers get value for money. The downstream petroleum industry in Ghana encompasses all activities involved in the importation and refining of crude oil as well as the sale, marketing and distribution of refined petroleum products in the country.
Commercial activities of the industry include: importation, exportation, re-exportation, shipment, transportation, processing, refining, storage, distribution, marketing and sale of petroleum products. The petroleum industry is one of the key subsectors and a major contributor to Ghana’s gross domestic product.
Since the establishment of the National Petroleum Authority in 2005, the Authority has supervised the acceleration of the petroleum downstream deregulation process by facilitating the removal of restrictions on the establishment and operations of facilities, as well as on importation of crude oil and petroleum products.
In June 2015, the NPA successfully implemented the final phase of the deregulation process – price liberalisation. This involved the full removal of control over pricing of petroleum products by the government.
Private importers, distributors and retailers are empowered to set ex-refinery and ex-pump prices with no intervention by the government. The Ghana downstream petroleum industry boasts over one million metric tonnes’ worth of state-of-the-art storage infrastructure.
Given the country’s position on the coast of West Africa, as well as the country’s democratic credentials, security and stability, Ghana’s downstream industry is well placed to store strategic stocks of petroleum products efficiently as well as serve as a reliable point for exportation to neighbouring, land-locked countries.
This is evident from the rising volumes of petroleum products that Ghana is exporting.