Most people believe taxis, commercial vehicles, and mismanaged subsidies are the cause of Ghana’s massive LPG shortage, which is expected to last more than a year and cause a lot of suffering. However, the Minority in Parliament is now attributing the widespread shortage to the government’s deliberate interference at the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) and its failure to pay bulk distribution companies regularly, according to a report from ModernGhana.com.
Hon. Kofi Adda, the Minority spokesperson on Energy, addressed the media in Parliament last week, saying the government has caused the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation to replace the TOR as the country’s main oil driller and producer, which has seriously compromised Ghana’s domestic oil supply. Worse, the government hasn’t taken proper action to fill the supply gap with reinforcements from bulk distribution companies that would be able to help.
The government didn’t pay the distribution companies regularly, so all but one has pulled out of doing further business with Ghana.
Kofi Adda added that the government’s mismanagement and neglect in addressing the country’s LPG needs is “not only unfortunate, but unpardonable because those officials know the real facts.” By touting carefully selected (and misleading) statistics and blaming taxi drivers and commercial vehicles, the government has avoided accountability for the problem they created.
“The deliberate avoidance of a serious analysis of the decline in domestic production is a matter that should not only attract the attention of Ghanaians, but it is indeed an issue to which we should demand answers from the government,” said Adda.
The government has also cited population increases and limited LPG storage capacity for reasons behind the shortage, which Adda says are simply more weak excuses for failing to manage the needs of the people.
“Former President Kufuor and the NPP administration lived through these same constraints, yet we never experienced such an acute and prolonged shortage as we are confronted with now,” he said.
So, Adda and the rest of the Minority in Parliament are calling on current President Atta Mills to leave TOR alone and allow it to operate freely as it did before. From 2008 to the end of 2009, TOR’s production of LPG fell from 43,000 metric tons to 7,700 metric tons. If the TOR is once again allowed to operate without interference, hopefully the country’s propane shortage can be alleviated ahead of schedule. Until then, Ghanaians have resorted to using charcoal and firewood to cook their meals and heat their homes. Both charcoal and firewood emit airborne particles known to trigger DNA damage and respiratory disease.