Business News of Friday, 16 August 2019
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Mr. Alhassan Tampuli has revealed that the Upper East Region has recorded a very low consumption of LPG and this has the tendency of negatively affecting the natural vegetation cover of the region, because of the over reliance on wood fuel which is fast depleting the environment.
He said statistics by the NPA in 2018 revealed that Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions consumed 4% of national LPG consumption with Upper East Region consuming only 1%.
He, therefore, called for the need for the people of the region to embrace LPG use in order to limit if not stop, the depletion of the vegetation cover.
Speaking at a stakeholder engagement on Cylinder Recirculation Model (CRM) in Bolgatanga on Tuesday, Mr. Tampuli recounted many accidents the country has recorded as a result of inappropriate use of LPG.
He said, “Over the years, the Ghana Petroleum Downstream Industry has witnessed a number of unfortunate incidents as a result of the misuse and sometimes negligence and inappropriate handling of the petroleum products, especially LPG.
We cannot forget the unfortunate incident of June 3, 2015, in which a number of lives were lost, neither can we forget the infamous Atomic Junction gas explosion which shook the country in the last quarter of 2017.
“We have experienced other avoidable incidents which nearly cost lives in Kumasi, Accra, Takoradi and different parts of the country.”
Touching on the theme of the engagement; ‘CRM: Creating more jobs, securing our safety’, the CEO said the CRM seeks to, among other things, develop market driven structure that ensures safety and increase access to LPG; ensure existence of robust and standard health, safety and environmental; practices in the production, marketing and consumption of LPG.
It is also to ensure sustainability of supply under the new market structure while ensuring local content and participation in the LPG sub-sector in compliance with the Downstream Local Content Policy.
The engagement brought together taxi driver unions, association of hairdressers, officers of the Ghana National Fire Service, traditional leaders, artisans, including tailors and the media among other recognised organisations.
The vice President of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Association of Ghana, Gabriel Kumi, on his part described as nuisance, taxes imposed on LPG and called on the government to remove them, if 50% of Ghanaians must have access to safe, clean and environmentally friendly LPG for increased domestic, commercial and industrial usage by 2030.
The National Liquefied Petroleum Gas Promotion Policy seeks to provide direction on marketing and distribution of LPG in a safe and efficient manner and facilitate an increase in access to LPG nationwide.
The goal of the policy is to ensure that at least 50% of Ghanaians have access to safe, clean and environmentally friendly LPG for increased domestic, commercial and industrial usage by 2030. However, Mr. Kumi says this cannot be achieved if the government does not remove taxes on LPG.
Mr. Kumi said though educating the general public on the benefits and usage of LPG is good, no amount of education will make the policy successful if the current taxes on LPG are not removed because majority of Ghanaians cannot afford.
“After all the education, if we are able to educate our people on the use of LPG and we raise awareness and all that, at the end of the day, we need to go and buy the product but I think you and I will agree that where the price of LPG is now, is beyond the reach of the masses of our population.
“We are not able to afford the products, so you can make cylinder recirculation good; it is very easy under Cylinder Recirculation Model to make the product very available but availability per say does not guarantee consumption.
“You can make it available but we will just window shop it, we will just look at it because we don’t have what it takes to buy it.”
He recounted how government used to subsidise the product, but at a point the government said the subsidy was so high and that it could no longer continue with it and eventually it was removed.
We, as an association, have called for a complete and total removal of all taxes on LPG. All taxes, we are not talking about certain percentage.
According to Mr. Kumi, his association had called for a complete removal of the mid-year review budget which was read with the hope that it was a fine opportunity for the Finance Minister to remove the taxes, but that was not done.
This is a fight that we must win and we need the support of all Ghanaians and all of us here. Even the Chief Executive Officer of NPA buys LPG. If the price goes down, he is going to enjoy it.
He said that: “We need the support of every single Ghanaian, especially the media on this fight. We are reorganising ourselves. We are going to give the Finance Minister another opportunity in the main budget to take out all taxes from LPG.”