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NPA, LPG operators tussle deepens

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Adnan Adams Mohammed

As part of its sensitization exercise to educate the relevance of the new Liquefied petroleum Gas (LPG) policy initiative which is expected to be implemented in January 2019, the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) met with members of the Council of State  last week.
The meeting was to discuss the new policy and implementation guidelines on the Cylinder Recirculation Model (CRM).

The delegation, who presented the new policy model to the Council of State, was led by the Chief Executive Officer of NPA, Hassan Tampuli, who said the main reason for the policy initiative was to essentially deal with health, safety, and security issues.

While addressing the Council on the possibility of fear of job loss, Hassan Tampuli admitted that he was confident their engagement will help shape the directions of the policy implementation.

However, the Ghana LPG Operators Association (GLiPGOA), has threatened a lawsuit against the government if it fails to reach a consensus with all stakeholders on the Cylinder Re-circulation Model.

Nicholas Issaka Agbana, an executive of the association in an interview has said, “We are doing advocacy. We have sent a petition to the highest authority. We are seeing what happens; if all that fails, we will go to court.”

After pulling out of consultative meetings ahead of the implementation of the Cylinder Re-circulati
on Policy, the association’s members later went on strike in May.

Aside from concerns over the loss of jobs, the association has complained that proper stakeholder consultations were not carried out as the operators were not engaged on the policy.

As part of the module, gas cylinders will no longer be filled up at gas retail outlets, but cylinders will be bought from distributors already filled when they go empty.

On the other hand, with the consumer mind, the NPA said the policy was to “respond to the question of availability, affordability, and accessibility across the country.”

Mr. Agbana recounts that, the strike the association members embarked on recently, took a heavy toll on consumers and was something they would like to avoid.

“The severe impact we had on consumers, we don’t want to repeat strikes. We really don’t want to go back to strikes,” he said.

Mr. Agbana has said, the association will take legal action without any compromise from the government.

“We believe that if the government is open-minded about this, we will come out with a better alternative than this. We hope we never go on any strike. But like I said, court action is our next line if there is no consensus on this.”

According to the NPA, existing LPG stations would be classified into low and high risks based on their deficiency in meeting required safety standards in an ongoing risk assessment.

Those found to be high risk will be converted into filled cylinder retail and distribution outlets.

Those found to be low risk would be dedicated to the supply of auto-gas only, but with improved safety standards.

Meanwhile, in his address, the Chairman of the Council Nana Otuo Siriboe II commended the NPA for using the council as their ‘think-tank’ for the execution of their policy while urging them to ensure that Ghanaians benefit from the implementation.

“We have no doubt at all that the interaction that we are going to have with you will be very well informed. I have no doubt at all that whatever we agree or whatever we tell you will find implementations in your policies and programs.” He said.

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