BDCs Go To Court -Over BOST, TSL Deal

Journalists being briefed during a tour of some Bulk Distribution Companies in Tema

Lawyers of Ghana Chamber of Bulk Distribution Companies (BDCs) yesterday filed a petition at the Accra Fast Track High Court seeking an injunction on the handing over of the management of tank farms of the Bulk Oil Supply Company (BOST) to TSL, a Nigerian company.

Senyo Hosi, who made this known to BUSINESS GUIDE in a telephone interview, said BDC took the matter to court because government’s execution of BOST’s contract with TSL was not in the best interests of Ghana.

BDC’s petition was based on three main grounds: the flagrant disregard of the Public Procurement Law in Sole Sourcing TSL to the exclusion of others, the illegality of the whole transaction because of TSL not holding the licence of National Petroleum Authority (NPA) to operate, the clear violation and breach of the Government’s publicly declared commitment to promote the deepening of Ghanaian local content at all sectors of the economy, especially in the oil & gas industry.

Speaking at a press conference in Tema, Hosi said TSL operates three terminals in Nigeria with combined capacity of 55 million litres, stating that ‘this is in no way comparable to the proven capacity of indigenous Ghanaian companies, which amount to over 270 million litres.’

‘What then is the technical and competence basis for sole sourcing TSL without regard to local competence? Why do we use the taxpayers’ money to facilitate the business interest of foreign owned companies,’ he questioned.

Hosi said BDC’s imports accounted for 65 percent of product supplies to the country from 2006 to 2012, adding that in 2011, 2012 and 2013, BDC accounted for over 98 percent of petroleum product supply to the market.

‘Our function is the reason for the absence of shortage, he stated.

Consequent to the deregulation policy, he said, BDCs have invested over $180 m in the construction and operation of tank farms with combined capacity in excess of 250 million litres.

Hosi said additional investments were on-going to increase private capacity in excess of 350 million litres.

He said BDCs, mainly Ghanaian-owned companies, have a proven capacity and competence in managing such facilities and have the ability to run a sector hitherto controlled by foreigners companies.

Hosi said President John Dramani Mahama charged Ghanaians to patronize locally made goods and services and stressed on the need for the people to look within their borders for solutions.

‘It is therefore an incredible act of irony that a state-owned company like BOST, will in a bid to outsource the management of its terminals opts to contract TSL, a Nigeria owned company registered in Ghana, in a sole sourced process without consideration of local capacity whatsoever.

‘This act absolutely flies in the face of the President’s many speeches and ideological position. This raises questions as to whether the president’s call, policy directives and ideologies are limited just to the Presidency and not agencies and appointees he superintends.

‘This is an absolute embarrassment to the President’s local content call and disrespectful of his ideologies.

It is unacceptable and must be stopped immediately,’ he said.

Hosi said the BDCs, through a consortium, were willing to take advantage of the opportunity that BOST offers to boost the country’s economy.

By Cephas Larbi

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