The Ghana Bulk Welders Association (GBWA) has appealed to Parliament to pass a law to ban the importation of substandard bulk oil storage and transportation tanks into the country.
It said the substandard tanks had the potential to cause infernos like the one which occurred at the GOIL Filling Station in Accra on June 3, 2015 and was also detrimental to the production of the tanks locally.
At a meeting with the Parliamentary Select Committee on Roads and Transport in Parliament yesterday, the President of the GBWA, Mr Charles Ayertey, said since independence, tanks used for bulk storage and transportation of fuel products had been produced locally with quality steel products procured from local manufacturers.
He said in recent times, however, some banks in the country had granted soft loans to some businessmen to import the tanks into the country.
He said apart from the importation of the tanks killing local businesses and causing unemployment, the imported tanks did not meet the required standards.
According to him, investigations by the GBWA had revealed that the substandard tanks imported into the country were more expensive than those produced locally.
Mr Ayertey said most of the imported tanks were made with highly carbonated steel which rusted easily and peeled off, sometimes resulting in holes and small openings.
Such holes and openings, he said, resulted in the seepage of petroleum products into drains and on to the roads during storage and transportation.
"In recent times steel production companies have complained about the low patronage of their products. Most of those companies are folding up and laying off workers. This is as a result of the inability of bulk welding companies to make significant purchases of materials from them.
“We believe that if the association is supported, it can be in a position to purchase enough materials for production, thereby creating jobs which will generate substantial income for the steel companies to enable them to honour their tax obligations to the government," he added.
Mr Ayertey said the GBWA produced bulk tanks for some neighbouring countries, namely, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.
He appealed to the committee to initiate steps to ban the importation of the tanks and also assist the industry in various ways.
The Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Roads and Transport, Mr Theophilus Tetteh Chaie, said the committee would discuss the issue with the Minister of Transport to determine which course of action to take.
He said if the tanks imported into the country were substandard, as suggested by the GBWA, measures had to be taken to stop the importers from bringing them into the country.
He added that if Ghanaians produced items which were found to be of higher quality than those imported, processes needed to be put in place to protect producers of such products.