Participants at a day's stakeholders engagement on the 'Cylinder Recirculation Model (CRM)' being implemented by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) have lauded the introduction of the concept to make LPG usage more 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 participants 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 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.
Mr Alhassan S.Tampuli, the Chief Executive Officer of the NPA at the stakeholders engagement said so far, 37,000 cylinders had been procured by the Authority to undertake the initial phase of the project.
The goal of the policy was to ensure that 50 per cent of Ghanaians had access to safe, clean and environmentally friendly LPG for increased domestic, commercial and industrial usage by 2030.
The CRM would work at ensuring that consumers got the 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 were 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 a safe and efficient manner whiles ensuring increased access of the commodity.
The Chief Executive Officer of NPA said the company by the step taken hoped 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 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 continue to contribute to the low patronage of the community among rural folks, adding that, "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 had 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 the activities in the LPG value chain with the view to reduce health, safety, security and environmental risks ".