Executive director of the Institute for Energy Security (IES), Nana Amoasi VII, has revealed that the institute has been one of the major advocates for private sector participation in the operations of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR).
According to him, TOR’s partnership with Torenco will help solve some of its fundamental issues. He indicated that apart from capital injection, the private sector brings in some level of efficiency into activities of TOR.
Nana Amoasi VII stated that currently, TOR for many years has been blighted by political interference which has been one of its challenges because it has been a struggle getting the right people to man the helm of affairs.
“Well, for many years, the IES has been pushing for private sector involvement in the operations of TOR for two or three reasons. One, we have very bad books for TOR, it means TOR cannot borrow from its own books and cannot venture into any capital intensive business.
“They are unable to buy crude, and if you understand basic obligation of paying electricity bills and water, it has been a challenge. So, the private sector involvement will be able to inject some capital to ensure that key component of the refinery is brought to standards for an efficient operation. They will also help to procure crude as well.”Nana Amoasi VII
Furthermore, Nana Amoasi VII noted that private sector can among other things, introduce the kind of competence and efficiency into TOR’s program.
“So, we are for private sector participation in the business of TOR, not necessarily government holding 100% equity in a business that yields negative returns.”Nana Amoasi VII
Calls for dissolution of TOR board of directors
Commenting on the demand for the dissolution of TOR board of directors by the staff who allege that the deal between TOR and Torenco is not in the interest of the refinery, Nana Amoasi VII explained that although private sector participation is okay, it however depends on who is partnering TOR and what the person brings on board, in terms of value for money.
For this deal, he highlighted that it’s always going to hit a snag because it has failed to garner the type of staff support and also the staff complain that it is not transparent in its current stage, which compounds matters.
“So, they want to be brought on board to understand the technical and economic dimension of this. If that is done, I’m sure it could pass, but for now, the IES cannot say the Torenco deal is the best because it changes in forms and shapes every passing month – until we see the final document, we cannot say it’s the best.”Nana Amoasi VII
With regards to the senior staff members of TOR backing the deal, the IES executive director explained that it’s just a section of the senior staff that are backing the deal.
Justifying his position, he elaborated that at TOR, there are two key unions – the chemical workers union, and UNICOF also on another side, albeit those against the deal are more than those for it.
“If you count the number, you’ll have more than 60% on the side of chemical workers union, as against the UNICOF, and even within the UNICOF, it’s the leadership as we understand, that’s for the deal – a deal that we don’t have the full handle on as to the details of it. So, it’s a section of the staff that’s backing it and not the entire staff.”Nana Amoasi VII