In defense of a legacy…Kwame Awuah-Darko, former BOST MD, sets the records straight

Photo: Kwame Awuah Darko, former MD of BOST

Kwame Awuah-Darko, the former Managing Director of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST) took to the airwaves recently to set the records straight.

In interviews with media houses, especially in response to a question posed by a host on a local radio station in Kumasi, Ashanti Region, Mr. Awuah-Darko said the NDC led BOST administration has had the great fortune in this era of NPP, of not auditing its own accounts.

Our accounts for 2015 and 2016, were audited by the NPP government, which findings were published in the State Enterprises Ownership Report 2017 by the Finance Ministry and the State Enterprises Commission, Page 45 shows the audited and recorded performance of BOST in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

A little due diligence by Edwin Provencal and his team at BOST, who is also the 3rd MD of BOST in three years would have revealed what was clearly an outstanding performance by the NDC led board and management of BOST.

Kwame Awuah-Darko went ahead to mention that, he inherited a legacy debt of US$220million which was contracted in 2006 from Standard Chartered Bank, GCB and Exim Bank by the then management of BOST.

He also inherited a dysfunctional BOST which had only one depot working partially, the Accra Plains depot with the other five BOST depots non-operable. He did not go about making false claims of his predecessors, he folded his sleeves and established a petroleum-trading department within the company, trading mainly petroleum products such as Gasoline, GasoilLPG and Crude Oil.

The government of Ghana in June 2015, appointed Kwame Awuah-Darko as the chief executive officer of Ghana’s National Petroleum Refinery Asset, the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR).

In line with his vision of making Ghana the petroleum hub of West Africa, he assembled a highly efficient team within BOST and TOR who followed his leadership to successfully implement and oversee the trade of petroleum products across West Africa which included exports of gasoline and Gasoil to neighboring countries such as, MaliNigerBurkina FasoIvory CoastBeninNigeria and Liberia among other countries

He went ahead to mention that, for the three years he spent at BOST and the 1.5 years he spent at TOR, he achieved the following;

Strategic Petroleum Reserve Programme

Mr. Awuah-Darko instituted the Strategic Petroleum Reserve Programme and with his team managed to secure credit lines to import petroleum products from inception without any financial contribution from central government.

BOST started importing its own products for the Strategic Reserve Programme from February 4, 2015, and by January 6, 2017, BOST had imported over 52 cargoes of refined petroleum products and 17 cargoes of LPG, making a trade turnover of US$1.6 billion earning a profit of up to US$61 million, a feat never achieved in the company’s 24 years of existence.

Through this programme BOST held Strategic Petroleum Reserve stock of up to 12 weeks of national petroleum consumption. Therefore, in case of an emergency Ghana had 12 weeks buffer of petroleum products.

GOIL Shares

Mr. Awuah-Darko led BOST in the acquisition of a strategic stake in the largest oil retail network across the country by acquiring 20% shares in GOIL to ensure the protection of the Ghanaian taxpayer, making BOST the third-largest shareholder of GOIL.

TOR Revamping

On given the additional mandate of heading the Tema Oil Refinery, Mr. Awuah-Darko assisted in the revival of the Tema Oil Refinery after years of non-operability via BOST and imported up to 9 million barrels of crude oil stocks out of which 7 million barrels was refined by TOR during his tenure as CEO and leaving 2 million barrels in tank on his exit from TOR.

He also initiated and purchased the first indigenous crude the refinery produced from Ghana’s TEN fields. He ended his tenure at TOR in January 2017 leaving 205,279 metric tons of Petrol and Diesel as stock in-tank plus crude oil stock from then TEN fields.

Restoration of National Distribution Network

Under Mr. Awuah-Darko’s leadership, BOST was able to restore five of its six fuel depots from the state of non-operational and several years of delinquency, specifically the Accra Plains Depot (which was half-fit), Kumasi Depot, Buipe Depot, Akosombo Depot and the Bolgatanga Depot which was restored to begin product export into the Sahelian market such as Burkina Faso and Mali, a strategy which generated foreign exchange for the Country.

In addition, the longest pipeline in the BOST network of 271km from Buipe to Bolgatanga was re-commissioned to enable swift, easy and low-cost transmission of BOST products across the country, from the southern part to the northern part.

Deregulation Policy

With the help of the Minister of Petroleum, Minister of Finance, National Petroleum Authority and other stakeholders, they successfully implemented the petroleum pricing deregulation policy. This was the best policy so far in the history of fuel pricing in Ghana

Organizational Restructuring

Mr. Awuah-Darko implemented an organizational restructuring exercise at BOST to introduce efficiency and motivation among working staff. As a result of expansion in BOST’s activities, he created jobs and grew the staff strength from 245 to 487. Subsequently, staff monthly payroll increased by 227%, from GH¢484,738 to GH¢2,135,240 between early 2014 to January 6, 2017.

BOST Office Building

Mr. Awuah-Darko commissioned a twin 10-storey office complex in Accra to curb the consistent overpriced office rent charges. The project was being financed by the contractor who also owned the land, BOST was to take custody of the office complex upon completion and to be paid off from internal profits BOST was generating spread over a period.

Initiated Projects:

On leaving both BOST and TOR on January 6, 2017, Mr. Awuah-Darko handed over strategic projects he initiated but were uncompleted, namely;

  • The Tema to Akosombo pipeline which was partly completed
  • BOST had started the process to automate all the depots across the country through an internally generated fund (IGF).
  • Awuah-Darko had secured funding of up to US$600 million and commenced feasibility studies on a 150,000 metric ton storage facility to be constructed at Pumpuni near Takoradi.

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