Kwame Awuah-Darko, Managing Director of Bulk Oil Storage Company (BOST), has disclosed that his team has resolved to revamp the strategic state facility and that the outsourcing of the management of its facilities to TSL Logistics is one of the strategies to redeem it from its unending debts which was hovering around US$33 Million.
As at the time he took over in October 2013, BOST, according to him, was reeling under a debt of US$33 Million and incurring losses on daily basis.
Under the new arrangements which BOST unveiled at a recent meeting of industry operators, the Nigerian company will have total responsibility for importing the bulk of Ghana’s petroleum products needs, including the very sensitive national strategic stocks.
In an exclusive interview with Kwame Awuah-Darko, Managing Director of BOST, he dispelled the notion that the security of the nation had been left in the hands of foreigners and disclosed that the “management of strategic stocks would still be in the hands of BOST”.
“I must say that TSL Logistics has Nigerians as majority shareholders but they are running the management on a 12 month pilot project after which Ghanaians would become majority shareholders”, Mr Awuah-Darko disclosed.
He further disclosed that the Bulk Oil Distributing Companies would still be allowed to bring in petroleum products as they used to do. According to him, before BOST took the decision to outsource the management of its facilities, he personally had interactions with almost all the BDCs “so I am surprised at the latest development”
Explaining the rationale behind the outsourcing, the MD said BOST was bedeviled with a debt of over US$30 Million with no end in sight “so it became imperative that we found the best way out”.
“Indeed, contained in the agreement is the provision that no losses will be passed on to BOST which is very good because the company has secured a bank facility which will take care of that.”
He further dispelled the nation that the staff of BOST will be retrenched saying “No one is going home. It is only the Tank Farm Managers whom I have changed because they superintended over the debt portfolio of BOST”.
Although some industry players have tagged the selection of TSL as “an action that is shrouded in total secrecy, and suggestive of under the table dealings”, the MD insists the “the selection process passed through all the needed stages which was handled by a team which I was not part of”.
The MD further debunked the allegation that BOST had contracted an inexperienced foreign owned company that was not registered with the NPA as required by the laws of Ghana.
Touching on the petition the Chamber sent to the Minister of Energy & the Board Chairman of BOST, the MD said he had personally met the Chamber “and they indeed apologized to me for writing the petition in the first place”.
In a related development, Bernard Owusu, Chairman of the BOST Local Union has thrown his weight behind the decision of Management. He also debunked accusations that the selection of TSL was shrouded in secrecy. “ I as the Union Chairman was part of a Committee which comprised of the General Manager as Chairman, General Manager , Legal, General Manager, Finance, Chairman, Senior Staff Association, General Manager, Human Resource as members”
He reiterated that the new measure would insulate BOST from any losses incurred in terms of transportation and storage.