General News of Thursday, 12 October 2017
Most of the 2,900 fuel stations across the country are owned by politicians, thus, their interference in past attempts by regulatory authorities to close down on badly cited ones as recently revealed by former Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation Mahama Ayariga, former Presidential Press Secretary, Andrew Awuni has said.
In a discussion about Saturday’s Atomic Junction gas explosion which killed seven people and injured 132 others, Mr Awuni told Class91.3FM’s Executive Breakfast show host Moro Awudu and co-discussants Mahama Ayariga and financial-cum-political analyst Joe Jackson on Thursday, 12 October that the difficulty in enforcing the laws to regulate the operations of fuel stations in the country so as to sanitise the industry could be put down to excessive political patronage.
“Our politics is exalted patronage,” he said, adding: “I like the democracy we are practising but it has its problems… and if we continue like that I don’t know where it’s going to end.”
Commenting on remarks by Mr Ayariga that he faced a lot of political pressure and interference from within his own government in his bid to clamp down on some fuel stations following similar disastrous explosions during his tenure as minister in the Mahama administration, Mr Awuni said: “I mean when he [Mahama Ayariga] talks about people interfering, most of these fuel stations, if you go behind them, it will be politicians.”
“I hear the MASLOC boss complaining about vehicles [not paid for]; most of them are all politicians; any good thing that comes into the country, politicians will be the first to take it … anything comes they want to take it first.
“This exalted patronage has to stop somewhere otherwise this country is not going anywhere. Our educational system is collapsing because of that patronage, our health system is collapsing because of that patronage, every institution [is collapsing] …” he bemoaned.
Meanwhile, Cabinet is meeting on Thursday to fashion out strategies by which the regulatory authorities will sanitise the fuel industry to avert disastrous explosions.