A planned demonstration against government’s neglect of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) last Friday by three labour unions in Tema was averted by the intervention of the Chief of Staff, Prosper Douglas Bani.
TOR has been shut down for the past nine months because it cannot raise letters of credit to import crude.
Information available to The Finder indicates that some Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) use TOR tanks to store imported refined fuel.
Consequently, the Tema District Council of Labour (TDCL), Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the TOR Unions met the Tema Metropolitan Chief Executive in his office last Tuesday, June 24, 2014 to share their grievances with him and to formally announce their planned demonstration against the government.
A reliable source who spoke on condition of anonymity said the following day, Wednesday, June 25, 2014, the leadership of the three unions received a phone call from the Chief of Staff dissuading them to call off the demonstration.
According to the source, Mr Bani promised government’s commitment to address the problems of TOR.
The source explained that they suspended the demonstrations, but added that if government fails to address their grievances, they would embark on the demonstration unannounced.
On the wall of TOR is a big red banner with the following inscription: “TOR/TDCL/TUC: We need crude; TOR must run continuously and Touch one, touch all.”
Speaking to The Finder, some TOR workers expressed disappointment at the situation, saying if government can raise GH₵1.8 billion for Bulk Oil Distributors, it should be able to assist TOR raise letters of credit to lift crude for processing.
The workers demanded that government account for the TOR recovery levy.
President Mahama in his State of the Nation Address in February this year announced that TOR was close to signing a joint venture agreement with PetroSaudi International and a deal was expected soon.
In 2013, the Government of Ghana spent a whooping US$2.6 billion to import finished petroleum products from Europe for local consumption.
He said the deal would revamp the operations of TOR to reduce the huge amount of foreign exchange spent on importing finished products, but we are yet to know where the deal has reached.
Source: The Finder
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