President Nana Akufo-Addo has promised policy reaction to curb the recurrence of gas explosions following a tragic disaster at Atomic Junction in the capital, Accra.
Visiting the site of the explosion two days after the incident, the President told reporters "this is beyond firefighters. It has to do with the policies we have to put in place to ensure such things don't occur again."
Last Saturday evening tragedy left seven dead and more than 130 injured after two explosions at a fuel station cited within the busy business community.
The explosion comes more than nine months after a similar disaster at La in Accra claimed 11 lives including sister of Trade Minister nominee Alan Kyeremanten, Bridget Darko. Close to 40 were injured.
Preliminary investigations into the December 22 gas explosion pointed to missing bolts and nuts on a tanker emptying gas at the station as the possible cause of the fire.
Photo: The gas explosion at St. Louis fuel station
Talk about the safety in Ghana is a ritual that is usually not followed up by real actions but the President expressed a determination to depart from pussyfooting around the problem.
"I feel strongly about this. It can't continue," President Akufo-Addo said after surveying the damage which included burnt cars and stalls.
The President has said a Thursday cabinet meeting will come out with measures to ensure regulations on the citing of fuel stations and handling of fuel are enforced.
National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) has said it has a report prepared five months ago which it will be sending to Cabinet.
The Chief Executive Officer of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Hassan Tampuli who walked the president through accident site said the Authority had inspected the fuel station at least twice for inspection and compliance.
He said the NPA had indicated to the management of the fuel station that the forecourt was too busy for an LPG station.
Additionally, they were asked to place more visible signs about safety at the station and also create a rest area to keep customers at a distance from the re-filling unit of the station.
Hassan Tampuli said during a follow-up visit last July to check for compliance to the previous directives, the Authority found out that some corrections had been effected except the directive to de-congest the area.
"There was a taxi rank around. Trotro drivers could discharge and pick passengers from there and there was commercial activities, very vibrant commercial activities", he told the President.
He said preliminary information indicates that the fuel station was discharging fuel beyond 6pm despite an NPA directive not to do so.
"The discharge was going on way into the night", he said.
Energy minister Boakye-Agarko told the President, the ministry has been engaging stakeholders within the fuel distribution chain for the past five months.
But it has been facing some resistance from some stakeholders "especially the transporters". He believes the tragic accident will weaken resistance the ministry faces.
"With this happening, they know that the safety of our citizens is [paramount] so that resistance is gone", he said.
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