The Ministry of Petroleum under the Rural Liquefied Petroleum (LPG) Programme, this year, has distributed 20,000 cylinders and cook stoves with their accessories to rural households in eight districts across the country.
The Ministry has also planned to distribute additional 20,000 cylinders and cook stoves with their accessories by the end of the year.
Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, Minister of Petroleum, who announced this, said in 2014, the Ministry distributed 13,000 cylinders and cook stoves, adding that the distribution of free cylinders and cook stoves with their accessories was to enable rural dwellers to switch easily from wood fuels to LPG without paying for the initial investment costs.
He was delivering a speech in Tamale on Thursday to launch this year’s Consumer Week Celebration organized by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) to amongst others promote the usage of LPG in the three regions of the north, to curb rapid deforestation arising from reliance on wood fuel as well as draw public attention to the safe use of LPG.
Mr Kofi Buah said the distribution of free cylinders and cook stoves with their accessories was in line with President John Mahama’s State of the Nation Address in 2013 where he announced that 50,000 cylinders and cook stoves would be distributed in low access rural areas to make LPG accessible to all citizens.
He said the goal of the Rural LPG Programme was to address the challenges associated with the use of solid fuels, which included reversing the detrimental effect of the continuous burning of the more than 13 million tons of firewood annually, and reducing respiratory diseases acquired from the use of firewood.
He said government expected to improve and increase access to LPG in rural areas from the current three per cent in 2012 to 15 per cent by the end of 2016, adding, “in our determination to expand the scope of LPG use to rural homes, the need to focus our attention on low access areas particularly the three northern regions is paramount.”
He said LPG was the safest, cleanest and healthiest form of cooking fuel and urged all to switch to it and observe safety precautions to save lives.
Alhaji Mohammed-Muniru Limuna, Northern Regional Minister entreated all to switch to the use of LPG to curb the rapid depletion of the forest cover to promote agriculture, which was the mainstay of the people of the three regions of the north.
Mr Moses Asaga, Chief Executive Officer of NPA spoke about safe use of LPG saying statistics from the Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and Burns Center of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital indicated that burns caused by gas and petroleum products increased from 11 per cent in 2006 to 30 per cent in 2011 and 32 per cent in 2012.
He said in view of this, the government had planned to build a burns unit at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital to take care of any burns from use of LPG in the country.
Professor Gabriel Ayum Teye, Vice-Chancellor of the University for Development Studies, whose speech was read on his behalf, commended government for initiating the Rural LPG Programme, which would go a long way to safeguard the environment.
The event was chaired by Mr Kwaku Agyemang Duah, Chief Executive Officer of Association of Oil Marketing Companies.
Meanwhile, there were exhibitions of LPG products and services by LPG Marketing Companies to sensitize participants on investment opportunities for the retail of LPG in the three northern regions whiles few cylinders and cook stoves were distributed. GNA