Information available indicates that the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) will soon be shut down due to a series of debts it owed to some utility providers.
It has emerged that the Ghana Water Company limited last week had disconnected its service to the Tema Oil Refinery.
This is because TOR is in debt to the service provider to the tune of about 4 million Cedis in water bill as at March 2021.
This paper has gathered that the situation has forced the company to depend on its 11, 200 cubic meter water reservoir which is projected to run out in the next 72 hours after which the Refinery would not even have water to flush its toilet.
Workers say, the water cut to the Refinery puts the Refinery at high risk due to the flammable nature of the plant and also the fact that water is an essential need of the refinery since it is used to generate steam for the refinery and also for emergency firefighting purposes.
Checks conducted by this paper has it that the Refinery as at March this year also owes the Electricity Company of Ghana an amount of about 23 million Ghana Cedis.
Also, TOR is in workers Provident fund arrears to the tune of about 34 million Ghana Cedis.
This puts workers’ investment at risk.
Workers who are due to access the fund are unable to access it due to the debt.
Again, this paper gathered that TOR is also in arrears of about 21 million Ghana Cedis in the payment of workers SSNIT tier one and two as at April 2021 and owes the Ghana Revenue Authority to the tune of about 85 million Cedis in taxes as at April this year.
According to workers of the Refinery, the plant could collapse anytime soon if nothing is done to reposition the Refinery as soon as possible.
Some workers who spoke to this paper on condition of anonymity says the current Managing Director (MD) is failing to see reason and make the plant viable as all suggestions made to him to get the Refinery on track proved futile.
They said they have tried to make the new MD understand the current state of the plant and find reason in turning it around to make it viable but he seems not to understand the business of the Refinery.
They complained that currently the Refinery is struggling to pay salaries of workers and pensioners due for pension are equally unable to access their end of year benefit due to the lack of funds in the company accounts.
We established that this year alone, the bank account of the company has been ganached on two occasions by the Ghana Revenue Authority.
The workers further complained that, in the face of all the numerous financial challenges the plant is facing, the MD continues to make political employment.
“We are struggling to pay workers salary, we are unable to pay our bills, and we do not know the future of this Refinery, yet our MD continues to do political employment,” a worker said.
Meanwhile, the grade six workers being the lowest paid worker at the Tema Oil Refinery receives a take home salary of Ghc 2,879 plus a mid-month salary allowance of Ghc 700 and a fuel coupon of Ghc 900 per month.
This year alone, 15 new category six workers have been employed on political grounds despite the numerous debt and financial challenges the Refinery faces.
In a notice to its staff in October last year, the Human Resources and Administrative Manager announced the appointment of one Mr. Charles Anafi, a former Principal Engineer of the Refinery as the Refinery’s Optimization Manager, a newly created position.
The function of the newly created Optimization department according to the HR and Admins General Manager, Jane Ohenewaa Gyekye in the notice to the staff in October last year, “is to commercially optimize the overall Refinery operations, study market trends and recommend useful technology/process to improve the Refinery’s viability and commercial position to achieve the company’s revenue target”.
Similarly, a new appointment was again made on 12 March, 2021 where one Frank Kwaku Duah was appointed as the acting inspection manager of the plant.
However, the workers believe these appointments are needless especially when the Refinery is financially bankrupt.
According to workers the appointments form part of the many wastages the current MD is seen to be making instead of helping revive the plant.
Currently the Refinery has ceased refining as a tolling contract signed with Woodfields Energy Resources limited has been terminated with the MD unable to tell what is next for the Refinery in terms of where to get the next crude for refining.
Early this year, Divisional Workers Union within the Refinery petitioned the President to remove its MD and dissolve the current board on the grounds of incompetence as they are unable to point to any future prospects, opportunities, initiatives, negotiated agreement that could assure workers of a better future.