Ghana’s petroleum downstream regulator, National Petroleum Authority, has announced that it will, beginning September 2023, start the implementation of the first phase of the government’s nationwide Cylinder Recirculation Model (CRM) policy from the Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions.
The authority expects to extend the programme to the remaining fourteen regions of Ghana in phases.
Addressing a section of Ghanaian journalists to officially announce the implementation date, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of NPA, Curtis Perry Okudzeto explained the authority is beginning the implementation of the programme given the completion of four LPG bottling plants which were constructed for the sake of the programme.
He mentioned that GOIL Plc has constructed two LPG Bottling Plants in Tema and Kumasi with the capacity to fill 23,000 and 7,600 cylinders per day while Blue Ocean and New Gas plants also can fill 24,000 and 20,000 cylinders respectively.
Besides the bottling plants, Mr. Okudzeto indicated that the state-owned Ghana Cylinder Manufacturing Company (GCMCL), APPEB and Sigma are also ready to produce cylinders for the programme.
Mr. Okudzeto stated that the NPA has done all the necessary regulatory work for the smooth implementation of the programme.
Under the current system, LPG consumers go to their LPG retail outlets and fill their cylinders based on how much they can afford.
However, under the Cylinder Recirculation Model (CRM) policy, what will happen is that there will be already-filled cylinders of five kilogrammes and above from the bottling plant and transported to cylinder exchange points.
Consumers will then have to go to these exchange points and exchange their empty cylinders for the already filled cylinder based on how much LPG they want to buy.
“Consumers will no longer buy LPG cylinders. All you need to do is identify an exchange point and get a form to register as a client of that exchange point.
“We advise that consumers take proper care of the cylinders,” Mr Perry Okudzeto stated.
Contrary to claims by LPG Marketing Companies that they would lose jobs and their investments in Bulk Road Vehicles (BRVs) and, therefore, demand compensation as it is done for those affected by road construction, Mr Perry Okudzeto said BRVs would still be used in transporting LPG to some consumers as well as transporting LPG to bottling plants.
He said the CRM policy would run side by side with the current system until the programme is fully implemented across the country.
Asked when the authority expects the transition period for the current system to end, Mr Okudzeto could not provide a specific but said the authority has been engaging all stakeholders to agree on the date.
“Some people think three years while others are also saying five and 10 years so we are still discussing it,” he said.
He urged the LPG Marketing Companies to embrace the programme, saying, “I believe the policy is going to put more money in their pockets.”
He said there would be new jobs, stating that NPA is going to issue new licences for the transportation of filled LPG cylinders to the exchange points.
Touching on the pricing, Mr Okudzeto said the authority would make sure that there would be no increase in the cost of LPG, adding that they are engaging the Ministry of Finance on the possibility of scrapping some of the taxes on LPG.
The target of the CRM is to achieve 50 per cent consumption of LPG by 2030.
The Head of Gas at the Gas Directorate of NPA, Mr Obed Kraine Boakye, in a presentation detailing the background to the Cylinder Recirculation Model policy, noted that Cabinet, in 2017, directed NPA to implement CRM in line with the country’s National LPG promotion policy.
He said the goal is to ensure that there is access to safe, clean and environmentally friendly fuel.
“We believe CRM is safer than the current system,” he said.
After the press encounter, the authority led journalists to visit GOIL Plc LPG Bottling plant in Tema and Sigma Cylinder Manufacturing Company in the North industrial area in Accra.
Meanwhile, the Vice Chairman of the LPG Marketers Association, Gabriel Kumi, has urged the regulator, NPA, not to rush in implementing the policy.
He said the association wants enough time for the transition to take place.