Participants at a day’s stakeholders’ engagement on the Cylinder Recirculation Model (CRM) being implemented by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) have lauded introduction of the concept to make LPG usage safer in communities and ensure a more protected environment.
The participants also called for the availability of the fibre glass cylinders as against the steel ones, modern tubes and regulators to accompany the new cylinders to be distributed by the NPA.
One participant said, “This is a good policy, I have experienced this in Ivory Coast where any size of cylinder is filled for as low as any amount.” They also called for closer access to communities to enhance accessibility.
Some cautioned that the CRM should not be used as political tool but rather be given legislative backing to ensure that no government threw away such laudable concept.
Mr. Alhassan S.Tampuli, the Chief Executive Officer of the NPA at the stakeholders’ engagement in Takoradi said so far, 37,000 cylinders have been procured by the Authority to undertake the initial phase of the project.
The goal of the policy is to ensure that 50 per cent of Ghanaians have access to safe, clean and environmentally friendly LPG for increased domestic, commercial and industrial usage by 2030.
The CRM would work at ensuring consumers get LPG products at specialized retail outlets after the Cylinder recall exercise by the NPA.
Mr. Tampuli pointed out that the relevant licenses accompanied with structured safety protocols are to be maintained by marketers and distributors who would be franchised by the NPA.
The National LPG promotion policy seeks to provide direction on marketing and distribution of LPG in safe and efficient manner while ensuring increased access of the commodity.
The Chief Executive said the company, by the step taken, hopes to develop a market driven structure to ensure safety, enhance capacity of existing regulators and ensure the existence of robust and standard health, safety and environmental practices in the production, marketing and consumption of LPG.
The new value chain, under the CRM would begin with imports and production, bulk storage, bulk transportation, automated bottling, bottle transportation, retail and users as against the old status of main suppliers, refining and gas processing , storage, transport and retail outlets bulk customer.
The move would provide over 4,500 direct jobs to interested individuals and companies wishing to be part of the LPG value chain.
“In addition to the above jobs created, the NPA will recruit a little over 200 safety auditors throughout the country as well as resource its newly established health and safety security and environmental department to ensure that all safety measures were adhered to,” he added.
Mr. Gabriel Kumi, Vice Chairman of the LPG Marketers Association said the initiative, though laudable, could only be successful if government removes most of the taxes on the product to enable the ordinary Ghanaian to afford it.
Price hikes as a result of taxes, he said, have in the past and continue to contribute to the low patronage of the community among rural folks adding, “Data for the first quarter of 2019 reveal a more worrying user trend…people still prefer their charcoal to LPG due to high prices.”
Mr. Kumi entreated government to turn its attention to the teething challenge to achieve the 50 per cent target by 2030.
Mr. Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, the Western Regional Minister said the introduction of the model could contribute to a significant reduction in Petroleum related fires and accidents that have caused some families many woes.
“We endorse the NPAs effort to change the mode of LPG distribution and consumption in the country.
“It is also gratifying to know that steps have been taken to consolidate activities in the LPG value chain with view to reduce health, safety, security and environmental risks.”