The Co-Chair of the Extractive Industries and Transparency Initiative, Steve Manteaw has described attempts to convert the Tema Oil Refinery (ToR) into a tank farm as unfortunate.
The Energy Minister; Boakye Agyarko at a conference in the United States had indicated that government intends to turn TOR into a tank farm, ahead of the construction of a new refinery in the Western Region.The Energy Minister disclosed that the government had prepared land in parts of the Western Region for investors interested in such venture to set up in a free zone enclave.
He explained that potential companies that would take advantage of this opportunity would enjoy enormous benefits, including tax breaks and would also be required to export their products.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, Mr Manteaw, however, downplayed the move, saying it was premature, given the challenges currently facing TOR.
He believes the government should rather focus on addressing challenges facing TOR rather than falling on conversion as the most effective strategy for reviving the refinery.
“We need to get to the core of the problem.I see too many issues that we need to address. The first issue has to do with trying to as soon as possible, clearing the TOR debt so that at least the health of the TOR books will be restored.
“We need to address the issue of capacity and addressing the issue of capacity does not require you turning it into a tank farm. Rather,you build an additional plant to be able to take the current 45,000 barrels of oil a day that TOR does to about 100,000 barrels of oil a day, and then you insulate it against political interference by floating part of the shares on a stock exchange-same as we have done for GOIL which has made it profitable.”
TOR debt recovery levy
GThe government instituted the TOR Debt Recovery Levy in a bid to clear the massive debt that hanged on TOR as a result of under-recoveries.
In 2015, TOR’s debt was estimated to be in excess of 1.9 billion.
The Debt Recovery Fund Levy Act 2003 (Act 642) was passed to help finance TOR’s accumulated debt and cater for the company’s under recovery.
Due to this, a debt recovery levy was subsequently imposed on some petroleum products.
TOR debt overpaid; stop levying Ghanaians – ACEP to gov’t
The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) in 2016 charged the government to stop taxing Ghanaians over the TOR Debt Recovery Levy since their investigations show that technically, the “debt has been cleared and even overpaid.”
ACEP said at the time the levy was instituted, the total debt stood at GHc450 million.
The centre argued that if for any reason the debt had not been cleared, then the government is to blame for either mismanaging the levies or for non-compliance.
By: Marian Ansah/citinewsroom.com/Ghana