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Opinions of Friday, 28 July 2006

Columnist: Ampofo Ofori

Do Not Sell Tema Oil Refinery (TOR)

The call by the NPP Member of Parliament for Asikuma Odoben Brakwa, Hon. P.C Appiah Ofori for Ghanaians to oppose the sale of (TOR) by the Government is in the right direction. I am writing this article in support of that call, and hope that the Government will reconsider the decision if it is still in the negotiation stages.

The (TOR) IS THE ONLY REFINERY IN THE COUNTRY, AND AS AT NOW, THE ONLY LEGACY Ghanaians can claim to possess as the legacy of Osagefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s dream of establishing Ghana as an industrial giant of continental Africa, besides the Akosombo hydro electric dam.

Besides the fact that successive leaders after Osagyefo Dr.Kwame Nkrumah have done very little or nothing in development efforts, they have succeeded in selling or abandoning the entire viable industrial base we inherited, that employed tens of thousands of our youth in all disciplines.

At 1966, Ghana could boast of a fleet of cargo and passenger ships that constituted the BLACK STAR LINE.

Hundreds of industries that constituted the Ghana Industrial Holding Corporation, The state farms corporation, The Ghana Airways Corporation, The State Hotels Corporation, The State Construction Corporation, The Ghana Railways Corporation, The food distribution corporation and many others.

Out of all these, the only viable Legacy we can be proud of it’s possession as a country, is the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) which the NPP administration is now contemplating selling or privatizing.

What is the rationale behind the decision? It is believed the (TOR) constitute a liability rather than an asset to the State, as the Government keeps spending trillions of Cedis annually to support the operations of the company. This argument to me is flimsy, and not convincing enough to warrant its privatization or total sale. If the (TOR) can make profit when privatized or sold to a private capitalist investor, why can’t it be profitably managed by the state?

If the production efficiency of the (TOR) IN 1966, was 85%, it should be Technically concluded that the production efficiency today will be about 65%, and therefore Government cannot ran the company without Technical problems. What we therefore need to do is to infuse capital into modernizing its operations to maximize production capacity and efficiency. This is exactly what any serious investor will do and remove all bottlenecks to get his money back. Is this too difficult for us to do? I don’t think so.

Ghanaian Managers are equally competent as white managers from any developed country. Let nobody tell me that we cannot manage State owned corporations, because, given targets and free hands to operate without political interference we must be able to do better. We must simply therefore keep the (TOR) as a State entity but keep its management outside political interferences.

The collapse of a viable state corporation like Ghana Airways was largely due to political interference. A fully loaded Accra to New York Plane always had about 50% political cronies, girl friends and relatives on free ticket ride. Let us imagine to what extent political interference is playing in the operations of the baby Ghana International Airlines (GIA)

I do not want anybody to tell me that the African for that matter, the Blackman is not competent to manage with the same degree of competence as a Whiteman. We have good and bad white managers, just as we have good and bad black managers. The difference is that, a bad white manager will be fired, for inefficiency and or misappropriations, while a bad black manager will be protected because of political interferences.

As contended by Hon. P.C Appiah Ofori, Ghana has indeed not benefited from privatizing our Telecommunication and other state owned enterprises, because, their new owners , being capitalists would always want to reap maximum returns at the detriment of the consumer. That is why consumers are paying too much on all basic demands of life today, Electricity, Water, Telephone, making life unbearable for our people, while the capitalists reap billions of undeserving wealth.

The situation in Ghana is chaotic and any attempt to sell or privatize (TOR) will be the biggest mistake the Kuffour Government will slap at the faces of the people of Ghana.

Those who for political and not nationalistic reasoning argue that Ghana do not produce crude oil and therefore always support the frequent increases of petrol pricing, must be able to tell Ghanaians, the cost of producing one gallon of petrol Ex-Factory in order to make a good argument if the pump price of 42,000.00 is justified, and whether all factors considered, petroleum products can not be sold slightly cheaper to alleviate the people of Ghana from the barbaric policy and politics of petroleum pricing.

The people of Ghana must vehemently oppose the sale or privatization of the Tema Oil Refinery. It is not and will not be in our interest.

Ampofo Ofori (Executive Chairman)
NATIONAL PARTY.
Visit our website www.natlparty.com under development. And join us for sincere, selfless, dedicated and devoted service to change the political direction of our country for the good of today and generations to come.



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