General News of 2014-04-07

Stop BOST – TSL deal now – Dr. Wereko-Brobbey

A former CEO of the Volta River Authority (VRA), Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobbey, has joined calls for government to suspend the contract between Bulk Oil Storage and Transport Company (BOST) and TSL logistics Ghana Ltd, for the former to outsource management of its petroleum storage facilities within the Accra Plains Depot to TSL.

TSL logistics Ghana Ltd is the Ghanaian subsidiary of TSL Logistics Limited which is based and owned by a Nigerian.

The Ghana Chamber of Bulk Oil distributors was the first to call for the suspension of the contract.

According to the chamber, the deal violates Ghana’s local content laws and will cede control of a strategic national resource to a Nigerian-owned company, pointing out the potential risk in the event of a major dispute with Nigeria, with the example of the shortfall in supply of gas through the West Africa Gas Pipeline.

Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobbey questioned whether due diligence was done before the contract was approved.

"I think it’s unfortunate and it begs a lot of questions that we must address."

Government is now saying that sole source procurement must be approved by cabinet, 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."

He alleges that the company in question has not been registered to operate in the country.

"I have information that this company is not registered, am not sure, but it needs to be verified.

A company that has got no experience in the industry and is not recognized by the regulatory authority in this country, that is the NPA, is being sole sourced to manage a tank farm that contains our national strategic and security stocks, that begs a lot of questions and I think we need a better explanation from BOST."

He adds that, "If indeed this company is not registered with the NPA, then this deal must be stopped immediately, even if it means going to court, it must be stopped; we cannot have people operating with impunity against the laws of this country, it’s not possible," he said.

Meanwhile, the local Union of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transport Company (BOST) insists the decision by management to outsource the management of its petroleum storage facilities (Tank farms) to Nigerian-owned and based TSL Logistics Limited is laudable.

The Ghana Chamber of Bulk Oil distributors has petitioned the President and the Energy Minister to intervene in the decision by the management of BOST to hand over the management of Ghana’s petroleum storage facilities within the Accra Plains Depot to TSL.

But speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show on Monday, the Chairman of the staff of BOST, Bernard Owusu said, “the entire staff is 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 it’s a very strategic and good initiative by management.”

According to him, the Bulk Distribution companies have tried to run down BOST in the past. He said TSL has the capacity to bring BOST back on track.

”The BDCs [Bulk Distributors Companies] 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 TSL the opportunity to operate in Ghana because they [are] very [efficient], ” he added.