The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has allayed fears of the general public, especially players in LPG subsector, that the impending implementation of a cylinder recirculation module and LPG distribution will collapse private operators in the gas business.
The policy, expected to be rolled out in early 2019, will ensure that LPG cylinders will no longer be filled at gas filling stations, but there will be bottling plants at industrial areas and vantage points as well as distribution and retail outlets to supply consumers. However, a section of the public – particularly gas filling station operators – have raised a red flag over the policy, lamenting that it will end up crowding them out of the business.
According to the CEO of NPA, Alhassan Tampuli, the over-654 gas filling stations across the country will be absorbed in the distribution chain of LPG. He explained that the Authority has conducted risk assessments of the gas filling stations, thus categorising them into low, medium and high risk centres. Low-risk gas filling stations, he indicated, will be converted into auto-gas dispensary centres, while medium- and high-risk stations will be converted into cylinder exchange facilities. Each LPG bottling plant will create at least 40 direct employment opportunites, he added.
“The policy is not aimed at destroying people’s businesses, but principally to secure our safety and also change the mode of LPG distribution in the country. Ghana will join the league of countries like Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso in the sub-region that are free from avoidable gas explosions, because they have successfully implemented a gas cylinder recirculation module,” he said.
The NPA boss made these remarks during an interaction at Sunyani with media practitioners in the Brong Ahafo Region. The media engagement formed part of the regulator’s regional tours ahead of implementing the policy in 2019.
Touching on pricing of petroleum products, Mr. Tampuli emphasised that government’s intervention to reduce prices can only come in through the taxes, levies and margins as well as how effectively it can hold the exchange rate. He however noted that the petroleum taxes and levies component in the price equation is a necessary evil that could cause serious economic challenge should government tinker with them.
The two-week pricing window of petroleum products, he indicated, is currently the best option to be able to cater for all the elements which inform pricing, especially the international crude oil price and exchange rates. “As per our calculation, the two weeks is really serving its purpose; if we are going to do more than two weeks, then somebody has to be responsible for that because prices keep on changing on a daily basis – but government is not prepared to subsidise again.”