The Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) has observed that gas explosions in the country are gradually becoming a regular phenomenon in recent times.
It stated that from 2014 to date, there had been a total of eight gas explosions, which had resulted in loss of lives, destruction of properties worth millions of Ghana cedis and disfigured individuals who were minding their own business or escaping from uncontrollable raging flames.
In a statement, AFAG said it was very disturbing that gradually Ghanaians were becoming accustomed to these gas explosions and that the government was wasting scarce state resources on many agencies without its commensurate benefit to the state.
AFAG believed that some agencies had consciously chosen to serve the special interest of individuals instead of ordinary Ghanaian citizens.
Two state agencies
Two such state agencies gaining notoriety according to AFAG were the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Rarely have these state agencies made a headline for good reasons, it stated.
Further, AFAG pointed out that with all the noise and regulatory powers entrusted to them, these institutions had not been able to live up to expectation.
The indifferent attitude of these mandatory state agencies on enforcing the laws in the siting of gas and fuel stations at residential or densely populated areas to the detriment of the public is a matter of great concern for AFAG and millions of Ghanaians.
Dysfunctional state agencies
AFAG sympathises with the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government on this issue because it had obviously inherited some dysfunctional state agencies where some technocrats and public servants would satisfy their interests by granting permits to undeserving entities to build death traps for unsuspecting Ghanaians to get killed, harmed or their properties destroyed.
“We sympathise with the government on this occasion, nonetheless, it must be a turning point to crack the whip. The good people of this country need answers. We have confidence in this NPP government to fix the inherited mess and apparent lack of adherence to regulations by mandated state agencies to see to the public interest,” the statement added.
AFAG holds the view that the regulatory authorities, notably the Energy Commission, NPA and the EPA must take the lion's share of the blame for the blasts that are slaughtering and mutilating Ghanaians.
The failure of these institutions in ensuring the implementation and enforcement of safety measures by owners and operators of gas stations in the view of AFAG was a significant cause of these blasts, stating that these agencies seem to equate “talk” to action.
“They come to life when disaster strikes and go to sleep once these catastrophes leave the newspaper headlines,” the AFAG statement indicated.
AFAG, therefore, called on the Minister for Energy and the Minister for Environment Science, Technology and Innovation to, as a matter of urgency, investigate individuals within the NPA and EPA who have granted permits to businesses to build gas and fuel stations without due diligence and procedure.
These technocrats and civil servants are the real enemies of this nation and must be smoked out and punished accordingly, the statement added.
AFAG called for a commission of enquiry on the recent gas explosion among other recent explosions which have cost the nation nearly two hundred lives among other costs.