Private Sector urged to venture into rural LPG programme


Government has urged the private sector to position itself in order to take over running the rural LPG promotion programme, as it takes steps to put in place all necessary mechanisms to make the programme a worthwhile venture for the private sector.

Under the rural LPG programme, government distributes free cylinders, cook stoves and all related accessories to beneficiaries in low access and low income areas of districts across the country. It was launched in 2013 by the Petroleum Ministry to accelerate the use of LPG in rural communities.

According to the Petroleum Minister, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, government is identifying private companies with LPG distribution outlets in rural communities for a partnership; those outlets will serve as refilling centres for the rural folk and private investors must take advantage and open up to uncovered districts and communities.

“Ultimately, we want to make sure that there is a refilling plant in every district to make the programme a success. The young people can also carve transport business out of this with motorbike distribution to remote areas,” the minister said in an interview during a free distribution of LPG cylinder, cook stoves and accessories at Busunya in the Nkoranza North district of Brong-Ahafo Region.

The Petroleum Ministry has allocated 8,000 units of such equipment for distribution to rural dwellers in the Nkoranza Municipal, Nkoranza North, Atebubu-Amanatin, and Pru districts in the Brong Ahafo Region by the close of 2015.

Speaking at a symbolic presentation durbar, Mr. Buah said government seeks to create demand in these low access areas to incentivise private LPG marketing companies to set up outlets in such communities.

“Government doesn’t want to execute the programme in distress; we will replicate the distribution methodology of kerosene to rural areas in time past.”

He indicated that last year the ministry distributed 13,000 units to households in the three Northern Regions, Central, Western and Brong Ahafo Regions: “We expect to share 40,000 more by the end of December 2015.”

This, he said, will help improve and increase access to LPG in rural areas from the 3% in 2012 to 15% by the close of 2016.The minister emphasised that with the Atuabo Gas Project on stream, Ghanaians are well-positioned to obtain a regular supply of LPG from Ghana National Gas Company, in addition to imports to prevent shortage of the commodity on the market.

The new Gas processing plant, aside from delivering over 100 mmscf of lean gas per day for thermal plants, currently produces 500 tonnes of LPG a day for the domestic market.

The plant is also on track to produce more than 180,000metric tonnes of LPG per year, amounting to over 50% of the annual present demand estimated at 360,000 metric tonnes,” he stated.