The government has begun the distribution of more than 50,000 free cylinders and stoves to some rural communities in parts of the country, the Minister of Petroleum, Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, has said.
The move, he said, was part of the government’s policy to implement a national liquefied petroleum gas accelerated promotion programme.
Speaking at the launch of the programme at Evaluedzira in the Nzema East District in the Western Region, he said “there would be construction of major refilling facilities in strategic areas nationwide for easy access to the gas. He said over the years, rural women had depended on firewood, which had serious environmental and health implications.
He said the ministry was working hard to ensure that it improved and increased access to LPG in the rural areas from the current three per cent to more than 15 per cent by the end of 2016.
As part of the objectives, there would be a conscious effort to promote adequate local participation and investment in the LPG sub-sector.
The government would promote the setting up of special purpose LPG microfinance companies to support small businesses in the LPG distribution and retail network, especially in the rural and low-income areas.
“As government, we believe the new model would ensure safety and increase access to LPG to reach the government’s goal of 50 per cent access by the year 2020,” Mr Buah said.
Save our forest
Mr Buah said the move to extend the free facility to the rural areas was also to save the environment and preserve the country’s forest, which is depleting at a very fast rate.
The use of the LPG would help in reversing the detrimental effect of continuous burning of more than 13 million tonnes of firewood annually.
Before the distribution, officials of Ghana Cylinder Manufacturing Company (GCMC) were present to demonstrate the use of the LPG and how to keep the facilities safe.