TOR revitalisation: private hands and enterprising leadership needed
Adnan Adams Mohammed
Key stakeholders in Ghana’s energy industry are calling on the government to as a matter of urgency to privatise the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) and bring in an enterprising leadership.
According to an industry player, it is time to allow Private Sector Participation as successive governments have failed to retool and operationalize the country’s once viable asset. This, they believe can yield the needed results the country is yearning to derive from the deteriorating state asset as it is currently engulfed with ballooning debt and operational inefficiencies.
Fortnight ago, the President sacked both the managing director and deputy of the Refinery in the wake of recent impasses at the refinery between top management and junior staffs and workers. The Energy Minister has thereby inaugurated an Interim Management Committee to take up management and control of the facility until a substantive Board and Management team are appointed.
But, the Chairman of the Association of Oil Marketing Companies wants government to quickly privatise the Refinery before investors lose interest as he believes that, should government privatise TOR, the job opportunities will be enormous.
“In any case if we have private participation in there, it doesn’t mean loss of jobs or anything. If you’re building the capacity you’re creating more jobs. A 300,000-barrel capacity refinery is going to create so many jobs for everyone,” the AOMC and the outgoing Managing Director of Engen, Henry Akwaboah emphasized.
However, an energy Strategist and Lead Technical Consultant to COPEC in suggesting some alternative solutions to end the over decade long under-performing of the nation’s only refinery urged government to appoint a visionary and enterprising leader to manage the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR).
“TOR currently needs an enterprising leader to turn the fortunes of the Refinery around”, Dr. Yusif Sulemana posited when he reacted to the sacking of the TOR MD and his deputy. “The refinery has been idle and part of this is because of these issues. They do not have stable leadership. So going forward, the MD is fired. We need to get a stable leadership. We need to get a leader who is business minded and I can tell you government needs to get an enterprising, energetic, selfless person to take charge of the refinery with a business focus.”
He further noted that the next Managing Director must be committed to work to improve the operations at the refinery “like a business” within a given time frame, with the requisite resources provided.
Meanwhile, government has appointed a 3-Member Interim Management Committee to oversee the affairs of the Tema Oil Refinery.
The chairman of the IMC is Mr Nobert Cormla-Djamposu Anku. The other members are Mr William Ntim Boadu and Mr Okyere Baffuor Sarpong.
The committee has been tasked to, among others, ensure the smooth transition from the outgone directors, to undertake technical and human resource audits, as well as receive and assess viable partnerships for TOR.
Speaking after the swearing-in ceremony at the refinery, the energy minister, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh noted that TOR and its crippling debts, infrastructural issues and equipment have been well noted, and that since the 4th Republic, every president has thought about value addition to Ghana’s natural resources.
Dr Prempeh urged the staff of the refinery to put all rancour behind them, cooperate with the IMC and work hard to ensure the success of the refinery.
Consequently, the Executive Secretary of the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC), Duncan Amoah has charged the Ministry of Energy to outline Key Performance Indicators for the next Managing Director to be appointed to steer the affairs of the struggling Tema Oil Refinery (TOR).
“Once you start putting the right persons in place, you’ve solved one of the 3 key challenges needed to be dealt with for TOR to be turned around. You need a sound and competent management in place, you also need to detach the overbearing politicking or political interference that happens with the refinery and the third one, get the right investments to upgrade their tools and equipment.”
“We would be hoping that the new managers will be coming in with a certain performance agreement with their appointers knowing strongly what their timelines are in the first 3 months, 6 months, a year etc,” he added.
Also, the Member of Parliament for Dormaa East, Paul Apraku Twum Barimah commended the President, Nana Akufo-Addo and the Minister of Energy, Mathew Opoku Prempeh for taking the initiative and the bold step to revive The Tema Oil Refinery.
Paul Twum Barimah believes that TOR is a strategic facility in the oil sector and therefore reviving it will boost the downstream petroleum sector in Ghana.
According to Mr Twum Barimah, the government has taken the responsibility to pay the legacy debt of TOR and changed the entire management of TOR; a move which saw the MD and his deputy being relieved of their posts.
Speaking in an interview with the Media, he said the move by the president of Ghana and the Minister of Energy will help bring sanity and calm at TOR and lead to the transformation needed to promote efficient production.