Domestic customers of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) in this country are subject to exploitation. A classical scenario is to queue more, pay more and receive less value for money from time to time. This problem emanates from the apathy and institutional failure that has become a norm in this country coupled with the greed of mankind. Even though there seems to be some stability in terms of LPG availability at the moment, other problems remain. Besides, with recent price increases and shadows of the past in mind, one cannot rule out imminent shortages in the offing.
The idea of promoting the use of LPG through subsidy was a laudable one meant to protect the environment and the fast depleting forest. Nevertheless, this supposing noble policy appears to be dashed by unforeseen commercial use of gas by commercial vehicles in particular. This eventually has shifted policy towards full cost recovery in order to mitigate the periodic shortages of the product. Yet still the cost recovery effort appears to be bedevilled by an endemic problem that adds no value but cost. Why I am I saying this?? We live in a country where nothing seems to be working. Even simple laws of economics appear not to be holding. Decades of LPG shortages have largely been attributed to governments? inability to pay for huge debts that accrue from subsidies. Seeing people struggle and queue for LPG gas has been a common phenomenon in this country over the years. Subsequent governments have attempted to cut down subsidies and move towards full cost recovery. The logical expectation is that the more we allow the free forces of demand and supply to work, and off load burden on poor citizens, the more available LPG should be. However, the vice versa applies in this country. Most often, the more prices are increased the scarcer the product becomes. In recent times, LPG has seen astronomical price increases resulting in untold hardship on the ordinary people. The least expected of authorities is to ensure that the new era, of full cost recovery, does not bring along the old problems of periodic shortages under government subsidies.
Moreover, there seems to be a widespread exploitation of customers across the various LPG filling stations. A gas cylinder that used to take a household four to five months a year or two ago, now only takes them two months. Personally, I have been using the same cylinder for the past few years. The only difference is that now I need triple and quadruplet of the money I used to fill it. Yet the value I get is always on the decline. Certainly, I am not alone in this matter. I have heard complaints from friends, neighbours, among others of their gas running out to their surprise within a short time after filling it. Many have changed their LPG filling stations and ended up receiving same or less value.
One wonders why humanity is stopping at nothing in exploiting fellow humans. The Bible warns in Proverbs 11:1 that dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD?We are living in a country where everyone makes it a duty to rob someone of one thing or the other and at the end of the day we end up at the same point or worse off. Fortunately or unfortunately, Ghanaians profess and make noise about religion that is more often in words and far from the heart and deeds.
Probably it is time we started using transparent cylinders if it is possible to see the level of the gas in such cylinders. This will enable customers monitor the actual quantity of gas purchased as the scales of vendors are proving to be unreliable. Institutions and regulatory authorities should sit up and bring some sanity in the system in order to make the product availability and ensure value for money. Finally, the needed attention and funding should be sourced to complete our own gas project in order to ensure continuous supply of the product. Long live Ghana.
Emmanuel Kwasi Mawuena