The Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketing Companies (LPGMCs) Association has petitioned the Energy Minister, Mathew Opoku Prempeh, to be allowed to complete, revamp and operate 100 LPG retail outlets around the Atomic Junction following the October 7 accident in 2017.
A gas explosion at the Atomic junction on October 7, 2017, which resulted in the death of seven people, led to government placing a ban on the operation of the new LPG retail points built by the Association.
The ban was to allow for proper safety, health and environmental assessment of all LPG outlets across the country.
But nearly after four years, government is yet to lift the ban, thereby leaving the 100 retail outlets at risk of going to waste.
In the petition to the Energy Minister, the LPG Marketers lamented that their investments into the construction of the 100 LPG outlets worth Ghs 60 million, risks going down the drain if the ban is immediately not lifted.
Adding that they are under pressure to repay loans contracted from banks to build the retail outlets.
“These outlets had gone through all the necessary rigorous regulatory processes, appraisals and received the necessary green-light before commencement of acquisitions, construction and investment. In all, our members made about GH¢60million worth of investments into the acquisition of these outlets.”
“Out of the 100, the statement said, 14 of the outlets had been completed and were awaiting pre-commissioning permits from the National Petroleum Authority (NPA); 21 had received fire permits, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) permits, Metropolitan Municipal and District Assembly Development (MMDA) permits, as well as NPA construction permits; and the rest had received ‘no objection’ letters and were at different regulatory permitting stages.”
“Much as our Association is not against such government directives, it would be sad to allow our meagre and hard-earned resources to go to waste – especially when these investments were made not contrary to the law and regulations but in accordance with existing laws and regulations at the time,” read parts of the petition.
LPGMC further in the petition notes that a partial lift on the ban placed on the retail outlets at the latter part of 2020 by government of which the NPA was supposed to process the list of stations under construction prior to the accident, and issue permits to enable them to operate, has however, not done so.
“The above notwithstanding and considering the total investment that had already gone into development of the stations under construction, coupled with the fact that various permits were legally obtained, the LPGMCs are urgently appealing to government for permission to be allowed to complete all the stations under construction within a specified period and operate them,” read the petition.
The Association further urged that as the new LPG policy – the Cylinder Recirculation Model (CRM) – is yet to commence, government should allow for the completion of all projects pending.
“It would only be fair to allow our members to complete and operate all the outlets under construction, because these same outlets will in future become cylinder exchange points when the CRM is eventually rolled out. Thus, this nation will avoid drowning local investments while providing employment to the youth, making significant contribution to the economy through taxes, and increasing the penetration of LPG among the population as well as reducing the dependency on wood fuels to save our forests.”
“We believe that the issues raised above, when considered carefully and acted upon, will address our concerns and thereby lead to a vibrant LPG downstream industry in Ghana to benefit all stakeholders, especially government,” the petition read further.