Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tema workers threaten to block BDCs

Fuel Storage

The Tema District Council of Labour (TDCL) has threatened to block the transportation of finished petroleum products by the Bulk Distribution Companies (BDCs) from the points of entry if the government fails to stock the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) with crude oil for processing within two weeks.

It also hinted of a massive demonstration by all workers groups in the Tema metropolis on October 30 should the government fail to fulfill the numerous promises it had made in relation to resuscitating TOR.

The latest decision is contained in a letter signed by Mr Wilson Agana, the Chairman of the TDCL, and addressed to the Chief of Staff.

It forms part of a “Save TOR Campaign” launched in July this year aimed at ensuring that the government fulfils promises it made in 2011 to recapitalise the refinery.

The letter, dated October 13, 2014, a copy of which the Daily Graphic has laid hands on, expressed dissatisfaction with the way issues concerning TOR were being handled by the government.

According to the letter, it was envisaged that the government had no intention of ensuring the profitability of the facility, as dialogue after dialogue between the two had clearly showed that the government was only toying with organised labour.

“We have realised that the government is just toying with us without putting in any meaningful and concrete steps to bring crude oil for TOR to process to ensure fuel stability,” it said.

It further expressed regret that dialogue with the government since 2009 had not yielded any fruitful results.

“As such, we can only conclude that there is a deliberate attempt on the part of the government to do away with this vital national asset for parochial gains,” the letter said.

It observed that the government had keen interest in the growth of the businesses of BDCs in the country and had provided a framework for such businesses to flourish, to the detriment of TOR.

The letter queried why the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) had to be made to abandon its core business to join the bandwagon of BDC business, becoming a determinant of storage toll charges for TOR.

“While the commercial rates for private storage facilities are pegged at $12 per day, those of TOR have been fixed at $5 per day, and as such provided a framework for TOR to be shortchanged,” it added.

The letter expressed regret that the GNPC had also sidestepped its core business of exploration and had become a major player in the downstream sector of importing finished products.

“This activity would have been better handled by TOR if the institution was being supported.

“The above measures are calculated attempts by the government to oversee an eventual collapse of TOR,” it concluded.

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