The Ghana LPG Operators Association (GLiPGOA) has accused the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) of deliberately ‘killing’ their businesses, an act it has vowed to resist.
The Association accused the NPA of an agenda to collapse their LPG stations in order to pave the way for multinational companies and cronies.
“The NPA’s apparent agenda to consciously sabotage and collapse our businesses for the giant multinational companies and themselves and their cronies to set up Liquified Petroleum Gas bottling plants across the country has been activated in full force,” GLiPGOA’s President, Torgbi Adaku V, said.
Torgbi Adaku V, who is giving the regulator a one-week ultimatum to allow stations that have been shut down without justification to reopen, spoke at a press conference in Tema dubbed ‘Halt the reckless victimisation of our businesses immediately’.
He said if after one week the NPA fails to heed their plea, they will ‘advise’ themselves.
GLiPGOA, he stated, is not against the introduction of the Cylinder Recirculation Model – a policy that he said was abandoned in the 1980s due to a myriad of challenges – but the blatant targeting of its members without regard for laid-down procedure.
“Instead of helping find a lasting solution to some of the hazards in handling LPG, the NPA activated this agenda to consciously take us out of business,” Torgbi Adaku V added.
Additionally, he said his outfit has noted with deep concern what appears to be a calculated closing down of gas stations, on the basis of ‘petitioners’ claiming that such stations are located close to their facilities.
This, he explained, is contrary to the grounds under which an applicant may be denied a licence under the NPA Act.
“You will be surprised that these are stations have existed for years, and the licences renewed yearly before those facilities were established.”
For instance, he said, Goby gas station – located 300 metres from the ACP Junction off the Accra-Kumasi Highway and which came into existence in 2006 – fulfilled all documentations and started operations in October 2008. However, in January 2017, a high-profile personality said the station was close to his house – hence, the NPA shut it down.
He further added that the NPA, also in December 2018, decided to close down one of the most modern and safest LPG refill outlets in the country, T-Tekpor Gas station – which is a category A station, the highest standard of safety – because it was sited close to a school and other public places. He said this gas outlet was in existence way before those facilities were erected, but the case was treated in the reverse.
He therefore pleaded with President Nana Akufo-Addo to as a matter of urgency call to order some of his appointees, whom he said are deliberately destroying and collapsing businesses instead of helping them to grow.
We will not sacrifice public safety – NPA
The NPA, in a reaction said: “The NPA wishes to categorically deny the allegations made by Torgbe Adaku V and members of GLiPGOA. The allegations are vile, defamatory, threatening and a deliberate attempt to sacrifice public safety for personal financial gains”.
It added: “The NPA is aware of the attempts by GLiPGOA to undermine the entire National LPG Policy, which will not only create additional jobs but increase public safety in the downstream sector. The NPA has a duty of care to the general public, and that will always guide our operations”.
The statement indicated that the NPA has always acted within the law. It said the regulator is mandated to ensure that operations in the sector are conducted in a safe and standardised manner, and stations in breach of safety standards are sanctioned after due process to ensure public safety.
It further reiterated its commitment to implementing the Cylinder Recirculation policy:
“The NPA is committed to working with players in the industry to ensure implementation of the Cylinder Recirculation policy as directed by government. We shall, however, not give in to threats from any individual or bodies seeking to undermine our work.”