Some gas refilling station operators in Accra have expressed reservations about the Cylinder Recirculation Model (CRM).
They contend that the initiative could negatively impact many low-income consumers, as well as businesses and jobs in the industry.
The CRM programme, which became operational on September 1, allows bottling plants to fill gas and distribute it to consumers through exchange points.
Under this system, the consumer takes an empty cylinder to the exchange point and picks up a filled one. The empty one is taken to the bottling plant, filled, and returned for other consumers to pick up.
Mr. Nuhu Chamba, a gas refilling attendant at Avenor, was concerned about those who do not buy gas in standardised quantities but rather according to how much they can afford.
“For example, five kilogrammes go for 64.15 cedis, six kilogrammes for 77 cedis, seven kilogrammes for 90 cedis, and eight kilogrammes for 103 cedis, but usually, when customers come, they would buy 20 cedis, 30 cedis, 50 cedis, 60 cedis, 70 cedis and so on. And you have to fill it for them.
“Now under the CRM, the cylinder will be filled according to standardised quantities. So, how do you cater for all those customers who cannot afford it?” he asked.
Mr. Chamba was also concerned about how to assure consumers that the quantity they were paying for was exactly what had been put into the cylinder.
He added that under the refilling procedure, even when customers watched the scale as the cylinder was filled, they believed the gas attendant was defrauding them.
“Now under the CRM, you bring an already filled cylinder and say it is 5 kg or 10 kg—but the customer did not witness the cylinder being filled and thinks that the quantity is not genuine—how do you assure the customer that he or she is not being cheated?” Mr. Chamba asked.
Foreman, another gas refilling attendant at Apenkwa, questioned the CRM’s viability.
“Will the exchange points continuously supply gas so that anytime consumers need it, they will get some to buy?
“How about if a refilling station converts into an exchange point and then the CRM is not well maintained and so after a while, it collapses?” he asked.
Foreman also feared that he would lose his job once the CRM was instituted, which would cause hardship for him and his family.
He was also concerned that other workers, such as gas station attendants, tanker drivers, and mechanics, might be laid off.
Mr. Maxwell Appau, a gas station attendant at Alajo, was concerned about how customers who drove gas-powered vehicles would be able to refill their tanks under the CRM system.
He pushed for the proper storage of the cylinders at the exchange points to avoid mishaps, as well as intensive education on the CRM programme to ensure its success.