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Kwame Awuah Darko, BOST Boss
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Pressure is mounting on President John Dramani Mahama to rescind government’s plan to outsource the management of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transport (BOST) company holding the country’s strategic oil reserve storage facility to Nigerian-owned TSL Logistics.

Ghana Chamber of Bulk Oil distributors, the industry mouthpiece of oil distribution companies and energy experts such as Dr. Charles Wereko Brobbey, the former CEO of the Volta River Authority (VRA), have kicked against BOST’s move to relinquish its management to a foreign interest.

“I think it’s unfortunate and it begs a lot of questions that we must address …so are we to assume that President Mahama and his cabinet approved this without doing any due diligence, without establishing that, there are competent local companies that can do this?” Dr. Wereko-Brobbey questioned the rationale for inviting TSL Logistics to take over BOST—a company believed to be “on its knees”.

Unconfirmed reports indicate that the Ghanaian subsidiary of TSL Logistics may not have been formally registered in Ghana.

TSL, owned by Jide Tinubu, the younger brother of Wale Tinubu, CEO of Oando, undermines the President’s local content clamour, critics have warned.

A petition filed with the Ministry of Energy and the Presidency by the chamber of the bulk distributors warned that outsourcing such a strategic national asset to an outside company was risky.

The distributors, in their petition dated March 20, 2014 and signed by Chief Executive Senyo Kwasi Hosi, raised suspicions about the deal, saying the deal was an orchestrated move to have TSL and their trading partners control the Ghana & Sahelian oil trade.

According to Bulk Distribution Companies (BDCs), if there was the need to outsource the management of the strategic reserve company, priority should have been given to local companies, “[ we have]earned the right to be given priority consideration in utilising the opportunity to turn around BOST and facilitate the oil trade locally and in the Sahelian market.”

According to them, they have invested over $180m in the construction and operation of tank farms with a combined capacity in excess of 250million litres. Additional investments are ongoing to increase private capacity to over 350 million litres.

“We have not only taken up the mantle of trading petroleum products locally and for export, we have excelled and partly ensured the economy’s petroleum needs are met,” they petitioned.

“We hereby petition your office and the Board of BOST to kindly suspend any intended contracting of foreign owned companies and rather present existing Ghanaian tank farm operators, owners of BDCs an opportunity to provide solutions to meet BOST’s need.”

Meanwhile, in a move reminiscent of similar sale of State properties in the recent past, the Chairman of the staff of BOST, Bernard Owusu has defended the planned outsourcing deal saying, “the entire staff are in full support of the decision by management; because as we speak now BOST is on its knees, we’ve been running at a loss for all this while and TSL coming in, we think, is a very strategic and good initiative by management.”

“The BDCs are not for the interest of Ghanaians, they are doing that for their own interest; I think that the government should not listen to them, we should give the TSL the opportunity to operate in Ghana because they’re very [efficient],” he told Citi FM on Monday.
Source: Raphael Ofori-Adeniran/Daily Guide

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