The Association of Oil Marketing Companies (AOMCs) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers, has condemned the wanton closure of retail outlets by members in a “Rambo style” by top officials in the industry.
This followed the explosion at Goil Filling Station at Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra, which killed more than 150 people on June 3 coupled by flooding.
At a news conference in Accra at the weekend, Chief Executive Officer/Industry Coordinator, Mr Kweku Agyemang-Duah said the closure has led to anarchy and inflamed passions by the public against the OMCs.
Mr Agyemang-Duah said the downstream petroleum industry is a well guided and regulated industry with the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) as the regulator as well as other statutory authorities such as the Town and Country Planning Department (TCPD), metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ghana National Fire Service and Ghana Standards Authority.
He said the collective duty of these bodies is enshrined in legal frameworks with safety and security as the core objectives.
“The blame game at this stage of our national life rather exacerbates the already precarious situation and AOMCs will like to remind the… public that the retail outlets are confined areas and that anyone who has no business at the retail outlets should not venture entry; no one should smoke or use smoking materials in the hazardous area around the dispenser.
“The engine of the vehicle to be filled should be switched off before the dispensing begins, desist from making retail outlets a parking lot and an emergency shelter and consumers should observe all safety signs at the retail outlets.”
The Chief Executive Officer said it is a common knowledge that it takes a prospective retail outlets owner more than six months to obtain all necessary permits and approval prior to the commencement of the construction process with borrowed funds at high interest rates.
“We wish to inform the public that the retail outlets are sited in areas zoned for the purpose by the TCPD and the NPA only grant an applicant a construction permit when all the various requirements have been met and these include the zoning status of the propose site, an EPA permit, fire permit and building permit.
“The association will like to add that even when outlets have been constructed and are being operated, there is continuous inspection and monitoring by the regulators and other agencies to ensure that the retail outlets are operating according to the prescribed standards of performance.”
“Additionally, we ensure that our retail outlets are manned by qualify managers and supervisors whose responsibilities includes ensuring that the day-to-day operations at the stations are safe.”