Following assurances from the President, Ghanaians are expecting decisive and comprehensive measures to curb the incidents of gas and petrol explosions in the country.
Fuel explosions are again in the spotlight following the multiple explosions at a Liquefied Petroleum Gas filling point at Atomic Junction in Accra, which has so far claimed seven lives and injured scores.
The massive explosions occurred at the MANSCO gas station near the University of Ghana, sparking widespread panic in surrounding areas.
President Nana Akufo-Addo, after the explosion, served notice to all stakeholders that tough decisions will be made, with some compromise from the industry players expected.
“Cabinet will be meeting on Thursday, and I believe that out of that meeting, the country will know what our programme is – the comprehensive programme – that we intend to have to bring such incidents to a stop. The one that happened [Saturday], is one too many, we cannot afford more of that,” the President said during his visit.
The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, also noted that the resistance to reforms proposed will be futile, particularly in the sale of and siting of LPG filling stations.
“…I think what Ghanaians want is solid policy to deal with this matter once and for all. We are going to move to deal with it. It’s not about committees and committees and nothing gets done. We owe it to the country, and government is going to take this very seriously. Discussions were being held last night about the way forward.”
“Some new policies are going to come in and those who are going to try to resist those policies, I don’t think they will be listened to because it is important for us to put the safety of our people above everything else,” the Vice President said.
The siting of fuel filling stations in residential and densely populated areas remain a point of concern with the public, and it appears the National Petroleum Authority’s Cylinder Recirculation Module is a policy that could cater for the public’s concerns.
The policy seeks to ensure the safe distribution of LPG by limiting the number of filling stations, which the LPG Marketers Association and the Association of Gas Tanker Drivers have kicked against.
Given the concerns of Ghanaians, it would appear that only a policy limiting the number of fuel stations around them will assuage their fears.
Residents of Ritz junction in Accra, for example, on Sunday staged a demonstration to demand the removal of a Gas Station located in the area, in the aftermath of the Atomic explosion.
Students of the University of Professional Studies, UPSA, Accra, protested against the siting of a fuel station next to its campus.
But the LPG Marketing Companies Association believes the explosion should ginger regulatory authorities and all stakeholders in the industry “to concentrate on creating a robust safety regime of procedure, supervision and monitoring function.”
The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, is also more concerned about ensuring stringent safety measures.
“Maybe safety measures [need to be focused on], beginning from home because I believe that more people die in their kitchens than die from such accidents [explosions] because we don’t adhere to certain simple basic measures. You have to examine your gas stove, see whether it is working,” the minister said.