The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has engaged community leaders and residents of Nima, Maamobi and its environs on the Cylinder Recirculation policy, as it continues a public education campaign to solicit views and explain the model to citizens across the country.
“On the 12th of October, President Akufo- Addo gave us a directive to change the gas distribution system where gas stations were located in communities, causing casualties during an accident and evoking fear in residents,” Hassan Tampuli, Chief Executive of the Authority explained to residents. “So it’s important that we meet you and have a thorough conversation with you about the policy.”
Hassan Tampuli added that a committee, made up of different groups had already been set up to implement the policy but the input of community members and leaders were needed for this to be successful. “We can’t do this without seeking the views of our chiefs, elders and all of you, so we want your feedback on the issue. The issue is not cast in concrete so your views are important to us,” he said.
The residents raised concerns on issues of job losses, pricing and how to ensure the model doesn’t affect the volume of gas supplied. In his response, Hassam Tampuli explained that contrary to speculations of job losses, the model will create some 4, 500 new jobs while ensuring safety standards in the handling of petroleum products to reduce incidents of gas explosions that have occurred in the past.
“Government says you can’t be doing the same thing and expect different results, so we need to change the model and get different results. This is important for everyone because if a gas explosion is happening, it doesn’t care your gender or wealth status,” he said.
Explaining the model to the residents, the chief executive said, “like the coke model, you take your old empty bottle and exchange for new filled ones at a fee. So we are not going to fill the gas like before again. We shall fill them at industrial areas. “They will not be in our communities. We will take the cylinder to distribution outlets and ensure you get some in your homes.”
The sensitisation exercise is part of a policy directive to ensure previous LPG related accidents are not repeated.
Among many reforms introduced in the sector to ensure quality control and safety standards, the Cylinder Recirculation model will help reduce risk of casualties in gas explosions by removing filling station in communities to controlled environments and industrial sites where bulk filling will be done.
Under the model, users of LPG will bring their empty cylinders to a central collection point to be exchanged with filled cylinders after paying a minimal fee for the issuance of a cylinder. The idea is that Bulk Road Vehicles will now supply LPG stations at locations situated some distances from high population centres to minimise the impact of accidents and explosions if they occur.
In October last year, a gas explosion at Atomic Junction in Accra, claimed the lives of 7 people, injuring 132 others. This led to the introduction of reforms in the downstream sector to prevent the occurrence of such incidents.