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NO REGULATIONS ON GAS DISTRIBUTION - NPA to engage 200 extra safety auditors

General News

Mohammed Amin Adam, a deputy Energy Minister, has disclosed that the distribution of gas across the country are governed by guidelines from the National Petroleum Authority, which do not have the force of law, as it would be in the case of regulations.

Mohammed Amin Adam, a deputy Energy Minister, has disclosed that the distribution of gas across the country are governed by guidelines from the National Petroleum Authority, which do not have the force of law, as it would be in the case of regulations.

 

“I’ve heard people say we are not enforcing regulations; in fact, we do not have regulations as much as we need in the distribution of LPG as well as the siting of gas stations,” he said yesterday in a radio interview.

“What we have are guidelines issued by the NPA and these do not have the force of law as you will get from a law or regulation,” he added.

The deputy minister was reacting to comments by the Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber for Bulk Oil Distributors, Senyo Hosi, who accused the government of failing to enforce existing laws on fuel and gas distribution.

Mr Hosi had argued that instead of formulating a new policy as the government had announced after the explosion at a gas station at the Atomic Junction in Accra, the government should enforce existing laws.

The explosion on Saturday evening, which claimed 7 lives and left about 132 people injured, has resurrected the conversation on the siting of fuel and gas stations in the country.

Many have kicked against the location of these stations in residential areas and called on the government to prosecute operators of these facilities.

Dr Adam said it is for this reason that Cabinet was considering the formulation of a policy to regulate the sector.

He called on the public to support the government in its efforts, adding that government is working tirelessly to make gas explosions a thing of the past.

“We did not start responding to this issue just because of Saturday’s incident. We started discussing this about six months ago and we have had discussions with stakeholders, LPG distributors, the BDCs, oil marketing company because we think that the regulations are inadequate and therefore we need a comprehensive approach to addressing these challenges once and for all,” he stressed.

He assured that the outcome of the discussion would not result in the loss of jobs, but rather transform their operations into local distribution companies such that where the bottles are filled they will have the responsibility for distributing the bottle to consumers.

It will also allow them to form partnerships so that they can bring their smaller storage facilities together and get the leverage that qualifies them to become bulk distribution companies.

“The NPP government is not that to put people out of business, they are factored into the discussions we are having around the new policy,” he said.

Meanwhile, Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko has disclosed that government has given the NPA the necessary clearance to hire 200 auditors to make sure that safety standards are complied with at all gas stations across the country.

Speaking on the development after inaugurating the governing board of the Ghana Gas yesterday, Mr Agyarko stated that incidents of gas explosions are one too many in the country.

The Ministry, he said, for the past six months had been working on a new policy document to be approved by cabinet to become the operating principle.

“We have extensively engaged stakeholders in the operations of that new policy. I must admit that we have received some resistance from some vested interest who see this as impacting negatively on their businesses,” he told journalists on the sidelines of the inauguration ceremony.

“But at the end of the day, what we ought to consider as a nation is the safety of our citizens over primary pecuniary interest. So it is that we will bring to the fore and make sure that the standard of care and safety around the handling of gas conforms to best international practice,” he added.

“Thus the NPA which is the regulator will be allowed to hire 200 auditors who will go from station to station to make sure that safety standards are complied with,” he stressed.