Some industry watchers have made a strong case for the new government to merge the management of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) and the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company (BOST) if it is to be efficient in the petroleum downstream sector.
In their view, the merger will among others cut down cost and facilitate operations in the refining and distribution of petroleum products in the country. “BOST maintains the national strategy to ensure even distribution of petroleum products while TOR refines the crude so that same entity can be responsible for the distribution,” Co-Chair of the Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Dr. Steve Manteaw stated. Currently, TOR and BOST are separate entities but jointly managed by Kwame Awuah-Darko. This has raised some concerns of lack of transparency and effective oversight responsibility. Also, the dwindling fortunes of TOR over its inability to refine crude have raised some questions of keeping the two separate entities. Dr. Steve Manteaw added that the joint operation of the two entities will cut down the high operational costs associated with the separation of related institutions in the petroleum sub-sector. “People think that the two have to be separated to be able to ensure efficiency but I think that merging the two will improve the balance sheet to be able to raise private finance for their operations.” “The other advantage is that such companies can follow the path taken by GNPC to borrow on its account and lessen the burden on the government,” he further asserted. Separation of petroleum, power ministries unproductive In a related development, Dr. Manteaw has advised the NPP government to refrain from any decision to operate the power and petroleum ministries as separate sectors. He argues that any such move will rather increase cost to the country and deepen bureaucratic processes. “The problem we faced at the time was not due to inefficiencies at the Ministry but rather the lack of finance to procure adequate fuel to generate power and it is on this grounds that I say the separation was entirely unnecessary and that they should be merged to reduce cost of maintaining government bureaucracy,” The NDC government, in 2014, separated the power ministry from the petroleum ministry to allow it address the systemic challenges confronting the country’s power sector. President Nana Addo is yet to announce any of such decision. But the Co-Chair of the Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Dr. Steve Manteaw, explains to Citi Business News merging the two sectors will be more beneficial. “To the extent that the two sectors are interrelated, it makes sense for me to keep the two together with a single minister plus about two deputies; one each for petroleum and power,” he opined.