Deputy Energy Minister, Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, has charged the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), as a matter of urgency, use Kumasi as the first point for the implementation of the Cylinder Recirculation Model.
He said this was as a result of the number of high-risk liquefied petroleum gas stations located in the densely populated Kumasi metropolis after the NPA undertook risk assessment exercise sometime this year.
Per the directive, all high risk stations will be closed down and converted to cylinder distribution points where consumers can go and exchange their empty cylinders for filled ones.
After visiting the victims and the accident scene with the Chief Executive of NPA; Alhassan Tampuli, the Mayor Kumasi Osei Assibey, Dr Amin Adam proposed a task force be formed to ensure smooth implementation of the model in the metropolis.
“The KMA has to work with us so we can get outlets that are ready to start the distribution so that we can distribute cylinders throughout those stations”.
Dr Amin assured the general public President Akufo Addo was concerned about explosions at gas stations around the country and “he is convinced that the CRM is the answer to stopping these explosions.
“Not just explosions at gas stations, people are not able to get correct cylinders in their homes and their management of the cylinders in their homes is not good, as a result of that we also have explosions in some homes because of their poor management of the cylinders.
“The NPA has been doing so much education, creating awareness on how people use cylinders and the incidence of explosions in homes have gone down significantly but major explosions at the stations continue to be a worry to us as a government and this is why the President has directed that the CRM be implemented fully” he stressed.
The Deputy Energy Minister urged all Ghanaians to support the government to implement the policy because “when we do that we take away the high-risk stations from residential communities… and that will significantly reduce the incidence of gas explosions.”
He noted that “two lives have been lost and there was a third person in his vehicle across the road who is currently struggling for his life. This is not acceptable to us and this is why we expect Ghanaians to bear with us”.
According to him, the public must bear with the NPA when the decision to shut down high-risk stations in densely populated communities comes into effect, because of the initial discomfort that may create.
He however assured everything will be done to ensure the safety of the public remains paramount to the overall operation of government.
Mr Tampuli on his part said a cylinder bottling plant had been established to aid in the pilot exercise in the region.
He revealed two bottling plants were to be established in the Ashanti to serve the region and that of Brong Ahafo when the Authority begins full implementation of the model.
He disclosed that gas stations stationed in the outskirts of the Kumasi metropolis would be used as an alternative to CRM site, where cylinders will be filled and distributed to high-risk stations in the metropolis for onward distribution to the general public.
“So all the cylinders will be taken there to fill them, so customers will leave their cylinders at a station like this and it will be taken to outskirt stations which is low risk, fill them and consumers will come and pick them from here. Almost mimicking the CRM, pending the full implementation,” the NPA CEO said.
The government has meanwhile promised to pay the medical bills of affected persons currently being treated at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.