This morning witnessed a somber procession of Ghanaian officials in their finest attire, navigating the pothole-ridden roads toward the now-defunct Tema Oil Refinery (TOR).
Their destination: the Sentuo refinery, a new Chinese-led venture merely 500 meters away, poised for commissioning.
The privately-owned refinery, with an anticipated daily capacity of 100,000 barrels upon completion, aims to swiftly dominate Ghana’s market, meeting the current demand in its entirety. A stark contrast emerges as the Chinese investor seizes the profitable opportunity, while Ghana’s officials appear oblivious to revitalizing the country’s own asset for the benefit of its people.
Globally, petroleum refining is synonymous with profitability and ensuring petroleum security. However, in Ghana, the narrative takes an unexpected turn.
For months, the General Transport Petroleum and Chemical Workers Union of TUC, along with TOR employees, passionately advocated for attention to the deteriorating state of the country’s sole refinery. Their plea to safeguard jobs and ensure petroleum security has fallen on deaf ears.
Since taking over TOR from its Italian builders, the State has demonstrated a lack of economic stewardship, rendering TOR a redundant relic. Disturbingly, officials actively support private refineries, relinquishing control and economic advantages to foreign entities.
Once a cornerstone contributing over 5% to Ghana’s GDP, TOR now languishes, abandoned by those in power. Recent events, including comments by a former Energy Minister, portray a deliberate effort to consign TOR to oblivion, as officials enthusiastically endorse private ventures.
As workers hope for TOR’s revival, they will be met with the disheartening sight of official vehicles bypassing their workplace for the commissioning of a private facility. This stark contrast signals a disregard for TOR’s significance in favor of foreign-controlled dominance.
It is our fervent hope that Ghanaian officials reflect on this pivotal moment and take swift action to rectify the situation. The state must uphold its fiduciary duty to its people, ensuring economic sectors are not further surrendered to foreign influence, as witnessed in the Telecom, Banking, and now the Petroleum sector.
Source: Duncan Amoah-Executive Secretary, COPEC
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