Fifty Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) retail outlets across the country have been closed down by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) for operating below the required safety standards, the Chief Executive Officer of the authority, Mr Hassan Tampuli, has disclosed.Follow @Graphicgh
He said 27 additional stations had also been earmarked for closure when their stocks (products) reduced to levels that would allow for the shut down.
Mr Tampuli, who disclosed this in an interaction with journalists in Accra last Wednesday, said the authority had intensified its monitoring and inspections at all gas stations across the country to ensure compliance with safety procedures within the sector by operators to avert incidents of injuries and deaths as a result of petroleum and gas-related fires.
“We have monitored 479 stations out of about 600 from July to November and we are determined to ensure appropriate corrective steps are in place to avert future petroleum and gas fire disasters,” he said.
The CEO called on the general public to endeavour to check on the quality of petroleum products they bought from various retail centres across the country.
According to him, the NPA has set up a Complaint Settlement Unit to address consumer complaints on product quality, adulteration or dilution.
The unit, he said, recently received a GH¢60,000 compensation package from an oil marketing company (OMC) for a consumer who got his vehicle damaged as a result of product contamination.
On price increases, Mr Tampuli explained that the pricing structure was dependent on the country’s energy strategy, taxation and pricing policy.
He emphasised that taxes such as primary distribution margin (PDM) and the unified petroleum price fund (UPPF) could not be completely scrapped off the petroleum pricing since they were used for the payment of freight cost for the movement of products from coastal to inland depots.
Mr Tampuli also indicated that removing the taxes would mean people living outside the coastal areas where the products were transported from would have to buy them at higher prices.
In the same vein, the energy sector levy, he said, had various components made up of the energy levy, the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) levy, including the price stabilisation and recovery levy which “we recently adjusted downwards to ensure that prices would stabilise between now and February 2018 so as to provide some relief to the consuming public,” Mr Tampuli stated.
“Investments made within the downstream sector require money to maintain, hence some of these levies and margins in the petroleum price build-up are very critical for the sustenance of the industry and to ensure uniformity in prices across the country,” he added.
Ghana, Mr Tampuli said, was the only country within the West African sub-region that had the cleanest petroleum products of 50 parts per million (PPM) sulphur content on its market.
“Senegal is consuming 5,000 ppm, while Burkina Faso, Mali and Nigeria are doing between 1,500 to 5,000 ppm, an indication that Ghana is rubbing shoulders with Western Europe and America and some East African countries,” he stated.
He commended the management and staff of the authority for the diverse roles played in the attainment of this feat and assured the public that the NPA would continue to promote safety and further ensure products were of a high quality.