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‘Sack Energy Minister’

Dr Oteng Adjei

Dr Oteng Adjei

The visit to the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) by President John Evans Atta Mills was nearly marred by employees’ demand for the dismissal of Dr. Joe Oteng-Adjei, Energy Minister and Dr. Kwame Ampofo, Managing Director of the refinery, both of whom the workers have described as inefficient.

The workers’ demand was prompted by the President’s deliberate avoidance of a question about when the delivery of crude oil was going to be. He was greeted by a simultaneous chorus of “Oteng Adjei Must Go”, as the workers argued that the President’s men were incompetent.

Even though no specific date was given at the open interaction with the senior and junior staff, after an earlier closed-door meeting with management and union leaders, DAILY GUIDE learnt that President Mills told the union leaders that arrangements are in place to ensure that TOR gets crude oil by next month while waiting for a government-to-government deal with Nigeria which had failed to materialise.

This position contradicts yesterday morning’s pronouncements by the acting Chief Executive of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Alex Kofi Mould, that crude should be expected in December, raising questions about the sincerity of the President’s assurances.

Previous assurances of arrival of crude oil from Nigeria had been still-born, including the 90-day credit agreement reached with the leading oil producing country in Africa. An un-amused President Mills retorted that it was not for the workers to make a demand for the removal of his appointees, a reaction which set the tone for an unfruitful meeting, especially with Dr. Kwame Ampofo’s insistence that the First Gentleman would take only three questions from the workers.

He however pointed out that his government is aware of charlatans in the oil business and that these persons would be made to face the full rigours of the law when found out. The staff expressed misgivings about what they described as the disrespectful manner in which the Energy Minister, Oteng-Adjei, interacted with them when he visited the facility recently, adding such behaviour does not help in finding solutions to the challenges at hand.

President Mills assuaged the pain of the workers by stating that “we must be sober and temperate in our speech and actions and be mindful that the people who put us in power can dethrone us. It is for this reason that we must respect and bring them closer to us”.

There was no stopping the choruses as they rent the air thus: “Atta, ya ye wild oo” to wit “Atta we are wild”. The President patted himself on the back when he asked the workers how many presidents had ever visited them and even interacted with them.

Even before the visit to the facility, announcement about which was all over town earlier, many had expressed misgivings about the outcome of the engagement. Addressing senior and junior staff of the facility in the canteen, President Mills expressed support for the workers’ demand that crude oil be made available to them to work on, as they could not be idling about with nothing to do.

Pointing out the importance of TOR to the nation, he stated that government was working hard to remedy the situation in which the facility was starved of crude oil to work on. In his response to a question about so-called huge financial undertakings by a section of TOR management with SG-SSB, President Mills pointed out that he is not going to shield any minister against whom allegations were made.

“There can be truth in an allegation leveled against any member of my cabinet and so I order for an investigation into the allegation and sometimes, I do the investigations myself,” he said. An anonymous worker who sat in the canteen meeting called DAILY GUIDE and had this to say: “We are still not sure about when TOR would have crude oil. The President did not address the issue of Ghana’s abrogated contract with Sahara. As things stand, there is no hope for crude oil in the country before December.

“Was the President at TOR to listen to our concerns or to give a definite date as to when crude oil is to be expected in the country? He should have told us about the outcome of the various attempts made at getting crude oil into the country. We are referring to the Venezuela and Nigeria meetings. He should have addressed all these. These are our concerns.”

Sometime in May, President Mills, through his communications machinery, announced to Ghanaians about a deal reached with the Nigerian President, Umaru Yar Adua, on the lifting of crude oil to the country. So many months after the announcement, no such deliveries have been made, as Ghanaians contend with a myriad of rescheduled arrival dates of oil tankers, compounding the problem of fuel shortage in the country.

Source: dailyguideghana

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