General News of Monday, 9 October 2017
The Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors Senyo Hosi is against the formulation of a ‘new’ policy to regulate the activities of fuel stations in the country.
According to him, the enforcement of already existing laws and constant supervision, would prevent fuel station disasters.
Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on Monday, Mr Hosi said “One of the fundamental things we have to do when we have problems is to deal with them. Talking about a new policy is not the solution to the problem.
“It is not to say that a new policy is not necessarily welcome…but the problem you have at hand has to do with the concept of accountability that is totally absent in the management of the sector,” he added.
A gas explosion at the Atomic Junction Saturday evening has ignited a conversation about where fuel and gas stations should be sited in the country.
About seven people lost their lives, while a 132 sustained other degrees of injury in the explosion that threw an entire community and the country at large, into a state of shock.
Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia during a tour of the area on Sunday indicated that, a new policy is in the offing to deal with safety concerns once and for all.
Many other stakeholders have also called for a new policy to be formulated. But Senyo Hosi disagrees. For him, the concept of accountability, which is absent in the management of the sector is the real problem.
“It has to do with us purely enforcing the rules. The rules are there, people breach them and when you breach them we hold people accountable, but we never hold anybody accountable and that is the failing of government.”
He said governments over the years have skirted around the real issues and failed to put their foot down and ensure that the right things are done regardless of who is involved.
When the disaster happens politicians just move around, show empathy here and there and then nothing much happens, he said.
He added that “you have to deal with the fundamental thing that has to do with the breach of rules and protocol and holding people accountable for not doing their jobs and that is where we are.
“The responsibility for the discharge of cargo at a station sits with the supervisor, not a driver. A driver is just an operator but there is someone who has to be responsible to ensure that the entire infrastructure in the truck has the integrity to do the discharge right. The supervisor is supposed to have the skill, it is part of the requirement for operating a station.”
He wondered if these fuel stations are checked periodically to ensure that all safety measures and integrity are intact before they are allowed to operate. “How much evaluation have we got from the regulatory side, how many times have we gone to vet the trucks that we have licensed to discharge these things to make sure its safety integrity is intact, they don’t do it.”
Mr Hosi noted that at the time the gas station was established, there was minimal commercial activity in the area, but as commercial activity increased, the station should have been relocated but that was not done. “People have failed in the discharge of their duties and governance has failed us. Government should wake up and deal with the issue at hand not talk about policy,” he stressed.
He called on the president to sit up, hold people accountable and if any of his appointees fail in the discharge of their duties, they should be fired. He is of the view that if the mechanism for accountability is not enforced, no policy will solve the problems.
“Who are we holding accountable for the loss of lives, who is going to lose his job for this, who is going to go to prison for this, who is really going to pay for the loss of lives and the loss of property and the embarrassment this has caused the state,” he queried.