Eighteen companies have applied for licences to set up Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) bottling plants across the country.
Out of the number, 17 are wholly-owned local companies with one being a company operating in the Free Zones enclave.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Mr Alhassan Tampuli, who disclosed this, stressed that only Ghanaian companies would be permitted to operate under the new Cylinder Recirculation Policy.
Addressing journalists on the new policy at the NPA head office in Accra on Tuesday, Mr Tampuli said the policy would increase LPG penetration to at least 50 per cent of the population, create more jobs, as well as enhance public safety.
Mr Tampuli debunked claims that the new policy would lead to job losses, stating that contrary to that, more than 100,000 jobs would be created along the value chain the new policy would create.
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Mr Tampuli said the government was focused on broadening LPG penetration from 22 per cent to at least 50 per cent.
He said the unfortunate fire incidents recorded in the past made it imperative for the policy to receive full support, adding that the African Development Bank and the Indian government had pledged support for the new LPG policy.
Responding to agitations over the policy, Mr Tampuli said the policy was not cast in stone and for that reason there was room for negotiations to ensure that the needs of all the parties were met.
He said the NPA had written to the Ghana LPG Operators Association (GLiPGOA) to take advantage of the policy and apply for licence to operate.
He further noted that the NPA was poised to come out with plans that would stand the test of time.
The Director of Licensing at the NPA, Mr Benjamin Agyare, took the journalists through the licensing requirements for a new LPG bottling plant and said companies must be 100 per cent locally-owned, must have permit from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), submit a business plan, show evidence of having capacity for producing 250 tonnes of gas and have capacity to produce 1,000 cylinders a day.
They must also show evidence of safety mechanisms, be able to raise $1.2 million capital for initial operations, pay a non-refundable fee of $10,000 and be in a position to pay an annual licence fee of $50,000 among others.
The Head of Inspection, Mrs Esther Anku, took journalists through the new policy and how it would benefit the country in the long run.
She said Ghanaians should expect proactive supervision, changes in monitoring and inspection routine and better coordination among the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), the NPA, the Ghana National Fire Service and other stakeholders.
Mrs Anku further said there would be improved investor confidence in the industry, as well as consumer confidence in the use of LPG with safety education campaigns.