Ensure cylinder recirculation module is safe for consumers

The implementation of the Cylinder Recirculation Module (CRM) policy has delayed due to a number of factors, notable among them is the huge influx of refurbished cylinders in the Ghanaian market.

The CRM module is a “Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) marketing model that involves filling LPG cylinders at large refilling plants and then supplying them (the filled cylinders) to consumers at specialised retail outlets called exchange points, where consumers exchange their empty cylinders for a filled one.”  

The module,according to the National Petroleum Authority (NPA),will take effect from the second quarter of this year but it has not yet been operational. The pilot project which was initially started in six regions has also suffered some setbacks due to lack of bottling plants across the country and the low turnaround rate of the cylinders.

The NPA again revealed that there were very little cylinders in the system which made it difficult for the module to operate fully. It seems the infrastructure for the project is not ready.

According to Sigma Ghana, a multi-national company involved in the manufacturing of cylinders, refurbished cylinders, which come through the known and unknown points of entry were labelled as scraps which are not supposed to be sold to consumers because the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) has not certified them hence the cylinders do not conform to the required health and safety standards.

This was revealed by the General Manager of the company, MrCarlo Zeitounian during a familiarisation tour by officials of the Ministry of Energy and NPA recently at the company’s facilities to ensure that the cylinders produced were of the highest quality and safe for consumers. According to him,the company had already received product certification from the GSA for the manufacture of cylinders.

It is obvious that when it becomes fully operational, the CRM will be of benefit to Ghanaians. These include increased access to LPG, ensuring sustainable supply, health and safety and addressing sub-standard cylinders which pose danger to consumers among others.  

Fortunately, the ban placed on the construction and operations of new LPG facilities across the country in August 2017, by thegovernment, after the Atomic Junction gas explosion, has been lifted and the NPA has directed all those who were affected to resubmit applications for consideration. This is good news for them.

This directive was stated in a letter signed by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NPA, Dr. Mustapha Abdul-Hamid after the 35th Sitting of cabinet on August 3, 2022, which among others, addressed concerns of the LPG Marketers Association of Ghana (LPGMAG).

Earlier, LPGMAG, the Ghana LPG Operations Association and the Tanker Drivers Association of Ghana declared an industrial action as they raised a number of concerns which were addressed by cabinet.      

The Spectator hopes that LPGMAG will stick to their promise made after calling off their industrial action to ensure the availability of LPG throughout the country. In almost every home in Ghana, gas is used for various purposes and without it, life will be unbearable for many as the use of charcoal is being discouraged to conserve the environment.

The lifting of the ban is a great opportunity for businesses to invest in the industry as they can now consider setting up bottling plants across the country to create jobs for many Ghanaians.

The Spectator again hopes that with the lifting of the ban the government will put the necessary measures and infrastructure in place for the CRM to come into full operation without delay.

To ensure the availability of cylinders for the module, the NPA should collaborate with the private sector to supplement what comes from the Ghana Cylinder Manufacturing Company (GCMC).

The Spectator wishes to plead with would-be manufacturers of the LPG cylinders, those who intend to open new gas filling stations and the LPG Marketers Association not to be in haste but use the appropriate channels for certification before they resume operations.  

We urge the NPA and Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) to be vigilant by  ensuring that manufacturers produce to specifications so that the cylinders which will be circulated on the market will be of the highest quality to meet health and safety standards.

The NPA should educate the public regularly before the module comes into full operation.

There is also the need to ensure that defected cylinders are worked on before they are circulated into the system for use.

It is the hope of this paper that the regulatory authorities will ensure that the Cylinder Recirculation Module is safe for consumers.

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