TOR Soon To Shut Down Over Debt

The Tema Oil Refinery is on the verge of total collapse due to an array of debts owed to some utility service providers in the country.

Key among them is the Ghana Water Company Limited GWCL; which has cut water supply to the refinery for close to one month now due to TOR’s inability to pay its accumulated water bills that has amounted to some 4 million Cedis in arrears as at the end of March 2021.

Our independent investigations into the woes of TOR revealed that currently, the company relies on its 11,200 cubic meters capacity water reservoir for its operations.

Water is a key component in petroleum refinery and its unavailability could pose a huge challenge to TOR’s operations.

According to some workers who want to remain anonymous on the matter, the reservoir could run empty for the first time in the history of the company in the next 72 hours if water is not restored.

This they say could expose the refinery to greater danger because of the flammable nature of their operations.

“As we speak, because of the water cut to the facility we are running on the reservoir of the company that has a capacity of 11.200 cubic meters for water. It will interest you to know that this reservoir has never gone dry but as we speak in the next three days it will run dry if water is not restored. Water is an essential part of petroleum refinery and the fact that we do not have water means we are exposed to greater danger should there be any eventualities at the plant.”

It has also emerged that apart from water, TOR owes the Electricity Company of Ghana  ECG to the tune of some 23 million Ghana Cedis in arrears.

Apart from utilities, investigations uncovered that the company also owes workers provident fund to the tune of about 34 million Cedis; a situation that has made it difficult for workers who are due to access their funds. Some workers complained of untold hardships that this has brought to bear on them.

“I am supposed to receive my benefit in December last year but it was not available. June 2021 will be the turn of another batch of workers to access their funds. The Questions we are asking the Managing Director is; how is management going to make these payments when it is accumulated. We are really going through a lot as workers of TOR under this management.”

Additionally, the company is also said to be struggling to pay tiers one and two of its workers’ Social Security and National Insurance SNNIT levies which is in arrears to the tune of some 21 million Cedis.

Available information from deep throat sources within the company indicates that TOR also owes the Ghana Revenue Authority GRA to the tune of some 85 million Cedis of taxes alone as at end of April 2021.

Shockingly, as the lists of TOR’s challenges appear endless, the management of the facility under the leadership of the current Managing Director Francis Adu Tutu Boateng appears unperturbed as it is alleged to be engaging in spending spree.

Sources say management of the company has surprisingly gone ahead to be engaging in political employments at a time that payments of utilities, taxes and workers’ salaries are a major challenge.

In a recent notice to its staff, the Human Resources and Administrative Manager announced the appointment of one Mr. Charles Anafi; a former Principal Engineer of the refinery as its new Optimization Manager;  a positions that did not exist in the past.

According to a notice to workers on the appointment, the HR and Administrative General Manager, Jane Ohenewaa Gyekye, indicated that the role of the newly created ‘Optimization Manager’ is to “commercially optimize the overall refinery’s 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.”

Documents available indicates that similar appointments have been made regarding over 10 workers including one Frank Kwaku Duah who has been appointed as the  acting inspections Manager at the plant as recent as 12th March 2021.

This action by management has angered workers of the refinery.

The workers believe that such appointments under the current Managing Director of the company forms part of the numerous wastages that is further crippling the already struggling company.

“As we speak we are not working because most of our equipments are down and there is no crude; yet instead of using the meager resources available to retool the facility, the Managing Director with his cohorts at the refinery are making matters worse.”

Indeed, the workers union describe the Managing Director Francis Adu Tutu Boateng in a four paged document signed by the leadership of the senior workers union of TOR as a divisive and incompetent leader who lacks the credibility; prudency and priority in making decisions of the affairs of the company.

“It is a simple matter from all logical conclusions that the current MD of TOR (Mr. Francis Adu Tutu Boateng) is incompetent lacks credibility, lacks prudency and priority in decision making; he is divisive in the management of the affairs of the company. He is not able to point to where the refinery is heading. He has not delivered on any point and does not appear ever able to deliver on any point. Any smart prospecting business partner can easily detect his inappropriateness and lack of capacity to handle business to make it mutually beneficial. For that matter the refinery is never likely to become any better under his leadership; therefore, a change management person is needed to come to assume the responsibilities of CEO of TOR”; Part of the statement reads.

The document further describes Mr. Tutu Boateng as a liability to TOR rather than asset as he has not been able to point to the actual direction of TOR since taking over as the MD.

Our sources say refinery works have currently come to a total halt due to lack of crude oil. They say they suspect management has either terminated its contract with Woodfills Company Limited; a company that was contracted to supply 11 million barrels of crude to TOR, or it is on the verge of doing that. According to the workers this will further deepen the woes of TOR if the contract of Woodfills is abrogated.

“What we are sensing is that management wants to terminate the contract of Woodfills just because the MD does not have what it takes to handle business relationships. But I can tell you that so far, Woodfills has supplied 10 million barrels out of the 11 million barrels he has been contracted to supply. That company is the lifeline to our operations currently so if management terminates its contract, then we will be doomed as a company.”

On this basis, the TOR Workers Union has petitioned the president of the republic; Nana Akufo Addo on a number of occasions over the incompetent leadership of the MD Mr. Tutu Boateng for his removal from office.

It is not clear yet what the president’s action will be. However it can be confirmed that there is a growing anger within the workers of TOR over the MD’s continues stay in office.

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