Four districts in the Upper East Region have benefited from 8,000 gas cylinders, cooking stoves and their accessories under the Ministry of Petroleum Rural LPG Promotion Programme.
The Bolgatanga Municipality, Bongo, Nabdam and Binduri districts each received 2,000 gas cylinders, stoves and their accessories to be distributed to residents within these communities.
Launching the programme at Sumbrungu a suburb of Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region, the Director of Petroleum at the Ministry of Petroleum, Mr. Lawrence Apaalse said the goal of the Rural LPG Promotion Programme was to address the challenges associated with the use of solid fuel.
Challenges of fuel wood
He mentioned some of the challenges as reversing the detrimental effects of the continuous burning of more than 13 million tonnes of firewood annually, reducing respiratory diseases acquired from firewood and saving mothers and children from the drudgery and dangers of fetching firewood.
“We expect to improve and increase access to LPG in rural areas from the 3 per cent in 2012 to 50 per cent by 2020”, he emphasised.
Mr. Apaalse said under the programme government was distributing free cylinders, cooking stoves and related accessories to beneficiaries in low access and low income areas in districts across the country.
This, he said was done to enable rural dwellers switch easily from fuel wood to LPG without paying for the initial investment cost.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, the days of the shortage of LPG in Ghana are over. Our new Gas Processing Plant at Atuabo in the Western Region would produce enough LPG to meet our consumption demand”.
To make the promotion meaningful and ensure that the beneficiary districts have constant supply of LPG and prevent them from reverting to the use of fuel wood, Mr. Apaalse said the Ministry was partnering with LPG marketing and local dealers to facilitate the setting up of mini refill plants in these districts.
“We therefore urge local dealers and businessmen to take advantage of business opportunities provided and expand the LPG business by setting up mini refill outlets in very remote areas to ensure constant flow of gas”.
He urged the beneficiaries not to revert to the use of firewood and charcoal as that would have defeated government efforts, assuring them that LPG has been proven to be the safest, cleanest and healthiest form of cooking fuel available today.
Chiefs urged to champion tree planting
The Deputy Upper East Regional Minister, Mr. Daniel Syme said climate change was inevitable and urged chiefs, assembly members and opinion leaders to champion tree planting in their jurisdictions to prevent the creeping desert from engulfing the region.