Pro-Democracy civil society group, the Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) says the current Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) shortage that has hit the nation is indicative of the short-sighted managerial outlook and ad hoc problem-solving technique of the Mills-Mahama administration...
...when it comes to challenges facing the nation as in the case of gas supplies for domestic and industrial use.
In a statement issued today after a press conference in Accra, AFAG said the gas shortage situation has all the marks of institutional and administrative weakness and inefficiencies, and demanded an immediate and urgent explanation to the debacle and the underlining steps being taken by Government whether medium or long term measure to ensure a lasting solution.
Below is the full statement issued by the Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG).
Businesses And Ghanaians Under Stress As A Result Of The Gas Shortage: Ghanaians Need Answers
The Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) finds the current gas shortage and its persistent nature very worrisome. It is indicative of the short-sighted managerial outlook and ad hoc problem-solving technique of the Government when it comes to challenges facing the nation as in the case of gas supplies for domestic and industrial use.
News of Gas shortage has been a common phenomenon since the first quarter of 2009. AFAG and Ghanaians ask; when is the government putting in place a comprehensive programme to solve this problem which has all the marks of institutional and administrative weakness and inefficiencies? Ghanaians are already saddled with the heavy burden of economic stagnation and the unfulfilled promises from the Atta-Mills/ John Mahama led NDC government. As if the betrayal of the social contract from the “the better Ghana agenda” and the so called ‘the action year’ are not enough.
The last time AFAG checked, there is no turbulence in the international oil and Gas market. Neither is there any industrial action from various ministries and agencies responsible for gas importation, storage and delivery. The usual excuses from government to the effect that, usage or demand has risen, only go to prove governments’ ad hoc approach to solving real challenges facing Ghanaians. Opening up separate terminals for commercial users would not solve the problem. The basic challenge is an issue of supply and insufficient storage facilities. So far, the government has refused to solve the basic challenge, which is the issue of inadequate storage facility.
President Atta-Mills on a number of occasions has said that, the NDC are in Government, “to improve the life of the ordinary Ghanaian”, we are on this note stating that with the gas shortages since 2009, it’s obvious that the life of the ordinary Ghanaian is being made worse.
It should also be on record that Gas as a by- product of crude oil is more or less an added revenue commodity to the Government as Ghanaian through our purchase of fuel pay taxes. So the argument of Government making a loss in their quest to meet the increasing demand by boosting their supply is not quite accurate.
On the other hand, it is important for the government not to give false hope to Ghanaians with the arrival of 1,500 Metric cubic tons of gas. This is against the backdrop that, our daily consumption of gas is 1,000 Metric cubic tons. By this, the expected gas delivery would only last for one and half days.
AFAG demands of an immediate and urgent explanation to this gas shortage debacle and the underlining steps taken by Government whether medium or long term measure geared towards a lasting solution.
There is now no doubt that the Minister for Energy has failed to respond to this shortage. What has the Minister been doing for these past nine (9) months? It is obvious the Minister has failed to respond to the problem.
Is it an issue of the inability of the government to raise letters of Credit (LCs) or the lack of storage capacity? The consistent inconsistencies being displayed by the NDC government in the management of the petroleum sector is a demonstration of their incompetence. Labor experts have estimated that the cost of lost Man Hours as a result of the shortage of Gas runs into Millions of Ghana Cedis, in that, today we have Doctors, civil and public servants, teachers, Market women, farmers etc. leaving their post in search of LPG.
There is no doubt, after nine months, the NDC government has no lasting solution insight. What has happened to the gas infrastructure programme? Has government abandoned it?
Like a friend of AFAG said on Facebook, ‘Tullow Oil and co spent millions of dollars to construct the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah to refine their share of the crude oil from the Jubilee field. A proactive government should have also considered/thought of/planned building a Gas Refinery in the Western Region to refine the residual gas that comes with the crude drilling’.
Today, we have issues with the supply of gas to domestic homes and for commercial usage and we are playing politics with it. I think it is still NOT too late for the gov't in power to consider the viability of this project if it has not done so already. On the other hand, it will make much economic sense if a private enterprise/corporation is given the necessary "support" or in partnership with government to set up such a Refinery. In this sense:
- More jobs will be created
- Ghana will NOT only become an Oil producing nation, we also become a Gas producing nation
- Production turn over will contribute to the GDP of our country
- The lots of the "ordinary" Ghanaian will be bettered
- The perennial Gas shortages will be a thing of the past etc. etc.
Ghana, and for that matter Africa, are where we are because our Leaders have failed to be proactive and have become largely mediocre in their planning and in the formulation and implementation of Policies and Programmes. We are always relying on the Breton Woods Institutions (World Bank & IMF) to come to our aide; always with conditions attached to these aids and support.
It is time to go ahead at full throttle with the gas infrastructure programmes. It is indeed sad that, for several months now, Ghana continued to flare associated gas at the Jubilee Field, which have 600 million barrels of proven reserves and a potential for about 1.5 billion barrels of oil. Apart from the waste and loss in revenue, its associated health implications in terms of the emission of dangerous chemicals released into the air, sea and the eco-system could spell serious health problems for Ghanaians and also contribute to the current challenges of global warming.
Benefits of the gas infrastructure project in terms of saving cost of sole reliance on thermal energy supply and wood fuel in the form of charcoal is of great economic benefits and Ghana should make the construction of the project a priority to make gas a major source of energy in Ghana.
AFAG is Pro Democracy civil society group in Ghana. Since its establishment in 2009, the Group has advanced many programs aimed at holding government accountable to its promises to the citizenry. The Promotion of active citizenship has been the preoccupation of the Group. Our grassroots engagement, research into challenges and provision of alternatives in Policies, has gone a long way to help shape government policies and Programs.
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