From Sebastian R. Freiku, Kumasi
The Ashanti Region branch of the Ghana Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) Operators Association (GLiPGOA) has kicked against the proposed implementation of the Cylinder Re-circulation Model (CRM) policy, saying it is designed to deprive its members off their economic rights.
The association, at a press conference addressed by Mr. Kofi Darko, Regional Secretary, in Kumasi yesterday, called on the government, Ministry of Energy and National Petroleum Authority to, as a matter of urgency, withdraw the policy.
It said an estimated 7,000 direct and indirect jobs would be lost at the 675 LPG stations across the country, and that the CRM will push the price of LPG up, since people without inadequate funds cannot access LPG, and would be compelled to revert to the use of wood fuel at the expense of our forests.
The association has also called on the government to lift the ban on the construction of LPG filling stations to avoid further harassment from the banker. Mr. Darko said besides the inconsistency of the government’s bid to support the private sector for the creation of jobs, the CRM policy is calculated to replace the LPG operators with multi-national companies in the LPG retail business.
According to the operators, the CRM policy is not a hard proof against gas explosions, and that it is bound to fail, because it is ill-prepared. The association stressed that there is no need to replace the existing market and distribution system for LPG, and suggested that the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) should be supported to continue its supervisory role during discharging processes at filling stations, while the regulatory agencies are made to step up their monitoring and capacity building roles through the enforcement of safety standards.
According to the association, there are not less than eight regulatory institutions, and that there could be no high-risk LPG facility in the country, and that the relevant agencies must be blamed for any such risks.
It explained that reports of gas explosions point to lapses during the discharge process at the filling points, hence the need to involve the Ghana National Fire Service in this process.
The agitators expressed their displeasure with placards, some of which read: ‘CRM is not good for Ghanaians’, ‘CRM will kill existing Gas businesses’ and ‘there is no local content in CRM.’