The Minister of Energy, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, during his appearance before the Appointments Committee of Parliament for vetting and approval to occupy the current position, sent out a strong signal of readiness and capability to fix the not-too-good state oil refinery, Tema Oil Refinery (TOR).
The nominee at the time, was very well aware of his own calibre and, what he had under his sleeve; and indeed, gave the vetting committee an insight of how diligent he could work, to turn around the fortunes of the refinery.
Many a political observer, prior to that time, thought that TOR had gotten to a position when it would be extremely difficult for the status quo to be changed for the better; but the minister with full backing of government has proven that things could work again at TOR.
Mindful of powerful blocs that had been created at TOR, however, the minister’s decision to place an Interim Management Committee (IMC) in place after both the Managing-Director and the Deputy Managing-Director were asked to step aside, paid off, big time.
And through the good work of the IMC, some workers who had been creating huge sums of financial loss to the refinery and for that matter, the state, were unmasked and sanctioned, accordingly.
Per the inquisitorial report the IMC furnished the Ministry of Energy with, some 13 top officials had to be interdicted and, another group of 58 staff went under investigation for product diversion and other losses.
The IMC gave litany of events and instances that necessitated the interdiction of the workers, and assured that nobody was intimidated, and also went further to state, resolutely, that the consistent product and financial losses need to be eradicated, if TOR was to discharge its mandated duty, as expected.
Over the years, TOR and some other agencies were detected, in no small ways, aiding private entities to milk the state, dry, in guises of ‘product losses’ with some top staff indulging in issuance of unwarranted authorization letters – admitting liability to TOR and other agencies under the Ministry of Energy.
But making the whole exercise at TOR public, was an indication that the old ways of doing things are no more and that people will henceforth be held accountable for whatever they do at TOR.
The position of the Ministry of Energy to audit and reorganize agencies under it, should therefore, be seen as the most useful decision in recent times.
Definitely, the energy minister could be having severe resistance from those benefiting from the open thievery at TOR and other areas under his jurisdiction, but The Inquisitor, thinks that that should not deter him from insisting on doing the right thing to save the state from paying monies to entities that have no right to receive such payments.
The minister with what he has done has shown that he was ready and prepared to effect the needed change in the energy sector and must not relent in his efforts to ensure a better state of affairs prevails.
For now, the Minister of Energy and the three-member IMC he has put together to look after TOR, have shown he would not sit aloof for the state refinery to die.