The Junior and the Senior Staff unions of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST), have called on the government to move against what they describe as a cartel within the company sabotaging fuel prices.
In a statement, the executives of the two unions stated that BOST is the only institution with the adequate infrastructure and the human resource capacity to bring petroleum prices down.
Thus, they have said the government should pay attention to them and ignore the persons within the company who have formed a great cartel that has dominated the industry.
Prior to the Easter break, the executives of the two unions; Abdul Jamil, Ekow Sey, Mr. Mampaya, and Mr Newton Godfred Amoh, spoke on several radio stations mainly in Accra and Kumasi, where they cautioned the government against a “great cartel” in the petroleum industry.
“…the government is preventing the same cartel from their illegal activities such as fuel dumping, diversion of premix fuel, diversion of marine fuel, adulteration of fuel etc. For this reason, they are not happy, and will therefore mislead the government by increasing fuel prices anyhow with the excuse that international fuel prices have gone up,” they said.
They further stated that the great cartel has been in the system for long and will only be suppressed when the President, the Vice President, Chief of Staff and the Energy Minister understand the important role that BOST can play to bring petroleum prices down.
“Government should know that in the deregulation petroleum regime like ours without any giant governmental agency playing a role; even if the government removes all taxes the private sector which now controls the industry will replace it with profit in a smart way leaving the ordinary consumers in their vulnerable state; hence reducing taxes is not the ultimate option,” the statement added.
On the part of Mr. Mampaya, the Chairman of the Junior Staff Union he categorically stated that in most cases those in right positions to deal with the problems are given wrong advice.
He cautioned that if the government ignored their advice, “this great cartel whose members have made themselves kingmakers can worry the government in 2020 election because the ground is being prepared for that.”
Find below a section of the statement from the BOST unions
What is happening now is that BOST is crippled so petroleum market in the country has been taken over by the great cartel. On the contrary, the government is preventing the same cartel from their illegal activities such as fuel damping, diversion of premix fuel, diversion of marine fuel, adulteration of fuel etc.
For this reason, they are not happy and will, therefore, mislead the government by increasing fuel prices anyhow with the excuses that international fuel prices have gone up. They were enjoying all the illegal activities previously and will only be happy when that opportunity is available to them. To avoid this agenda of the great cartel, it is advisable to empower the 100% government owned BOST to compete with them so that their plans will be curtailed.
Mr Newton Godfred Amoh who is the secretary to the Local Union also said most of the members of the great cartel are highly rich and can easily influence government officials to act unreasonably. He said apart from Ghana there is nothing called BDCs anywhere in the world but here the BDCs are controlling the affairs to the extend that in 2014 they took the entire nation into ransom. He further stated that when the great cartel realised that BOST was planning to redeem Ghanaians from the burden of high petroleum prices, they quickly attacked the Managing Director with baseless, malicious, illogical and childish accusations to halt the intended plans. He added that the great cartel has a lot of incredible civil society groups as their members and they always hide behind such groups and sponsor them to throw dust into the eyes of Ghanaians.
During his turn Mr Ekoy Sey the secretary of the Senior Staff Union expressed dissatisfaction about the Bank of Ghana and the Ministry of Finance’s refusal to waive the single obligor limit on GCB to offer USD 120 million line of credit to BOST for petroleum product importation. He said the laws are made to make life easy for Ghanaians but not the opposite. He pointed out that today fuel price at the pump is about GHS4.51 per litre on the average leading to GHS20.30 per gallon but if this waiver is granted BOST can bring the price down to about GHS 4.00 per litre and GHS 18.00 per gallon which will be affordable to all and most importantly BOST will be able to maintain the same price for a very long time through the trading arrangement existing between BOST, GO Energy and Goil. He concluded that if the situation is not arrested the price will go up again in the next window thereby rendering the tax reduction granted useless.
Mr Abdul Jamil who is the Chairman of the Senior Staff union lamented that President Akufo-Addo should continue to repose confidence in the Managing Director of BOST, Mr Alfred Obeng Boateng because the man is hard-working, innovative, competent and above all the most incorruptible Managing Director the company has had in recent years. “This is the man who has blocked most of the loopholes in the company and has attracted enemies to himself but has vowed to standby his plans to turn the company round in order to leave a mark irrespective of the subotage and the frustrations”. What amazes the staff is that he has brought unity to the company, assign everybody contrary to the previous administration where some people were on old salary scale whilst others enjoyed new salary scale. A few people who are agents of the great cartel will soon be exposed and hope that the MD will sanction them accordingly. As we speak two staff suspected to leak fake information to outsiders have been interdicted and a five member committee has been set up to investigate them and submit their report within 2 weeks. If found culpable I have no doubt of management sacking them summarily. “We cannot sit down for a few people to destroy BOST which is strategically positioned to serve the nation just because of their selfish interest which is always placed above the national interest”: Mr Abdul Jamil stated.
He enumerated some of the policies that the new Managing Director has brought to BOST which is causing all the hatred and dislike by the members of the great cartel. The excellent decisions to safe the company is the cause of the frequent attack on him since he assumed office in January 2017.
In the past the members of the great cartel could divert about 10 trucks each of 50000 litre of fuel and sold into their pockets leaving BOST in debt. Today such practices are things of the past because of the measures put in place by Mr Obeng. Thus he has reshuffled the loading terminal (APD) transmission team and many other things. Another disturbing canker that had been eliminated which is also causing anger among the members of the great cartel is the policy that contaminated product can no longer be sold to BOST staff and any employee involved in causing it would face criminal trial. The result is that since the assumption of office by Mr Obeng the fuel contamination that was very rampant in the past has ceased. No contamination has happened since 25th January 2017 to date. In the past products were sent to Burkina Faso, Mali, Liberia and sometimes Nigeria without any financial instruments to secure it. Till date there is a huge debt in our books against those foreign companies which cannot be traced. Perhaps it was one of the means that the members of the great cartel were siphoning BOST money. The present Managing Director said we cannot continue to injure our own national company so bad like that, henceforth any export must be on cash and carry transaction basis. It may interest you to know that some BDCs were given products without invoice meaning they were getting the products free of charge at the expense of BOST and some of them still feel bitter when the new management put measures to eliminate such fraudulent practices in the company. BDCs were storing their products in BOST system and some were either not paying the storage fees at all or paying for only one month irrespective of the number of months that the products were kept in the system. The incorruptible, competent current Managing Director’s bold decision to ensure that every BDC pays for Storage and Rack fee fully and for storage fees on monthly basis has also offended the members of the great cartel. Conclusion
The loopholes that Mr Obeng led administration has blocked are many and therefore he and his team deserve commendation and support from the media and the general public to be able to withstand the unnecessary attack directing to them periodically.