Ghana’s downstream regulator, National Petroleum Authority (NPA), has held a stakeholders’ engagement on the Cylinder Recirculation Model (CRM) in Takoradi, in the Western Region of the West African country.
The goal of the policy is to ensure that 50% of Ghanaians had access to safe, clean and environmentally friendly LPG for increased domestic, commercial and industrial usage by 2030.
The CRM, being implemented by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), is also to develop a market-driven structure to ensure safety, enhance the 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.
Chief Executive Officer of the NPA, Mr Alhassan S. Tampuli, at the stakeholders’ engagement, stated that so far, 37,000 cylinders had been procured by the Authority to undertake the initial phase of the project.
Mr Tampuli pointed out that the relevant licences accompanied with structured safety protocols were to be maintained by marketers and distributors who would be franchised by the NPA.
The CRM would work at ensuring that consumers got the LPG products at specialized retail outlets, after the cylinder recall exercise by the NPA.The National LPG promotion policy seeks to provide direction on marketing and distribution of LPG in a safe and efficient manner whiles ensuring increased access of the commodity, the Chief Executive Officer of NPA explained.
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, safety security and the environmental department to ensure that all safety measures were adhered to,” he added.
The participants called for the availability of the fibreglass cylinders as against the steel ones, modern tubes and regulators to accompany the new cylinders to be distributed by the NPA.
A resident present at the one-day event said, “This is a good policy. I have experienced this in Ivory Coast where any size of the cylinder is filled for as low as any amount.”
Residents also urged to have the CRM closer to communities to enhance accessibility.
Some suggested that the CRM should not be used as a political tool but rather be given legislative backing to ensure that no government threw away such a laudable concept.
Vice Chairman of the LPG Marketers Association, Mr Gabriel Kumi, stated the initiative, though laudable, could only be successful if the government removed most of the taxes on the product to enable the ordinary Ghanaian to afford it.
He said price hikes, as a result of taxes, had in the past and continues to contribute to the low patronage of the community among rural folks.
Mr Kumi added, “Data for the first quarter of 2019 reveals a more worrying user trend…people still prefer their charcoal to LPG due to high prices.”
He entreated the government to turn its attention to the teething challenge to achieve the 50% 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 had caused some families many woes.
“We endorse the NPA’s 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 the activities in the LPG value chain with the view to reduce health, safety, security and environmental risks,” he said.