By: Fred Yaw Sarpong
Government has been asked to offload not less than 70% each shares of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) for Ghanaians to buy into these companies.
“Offloading the companies on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) will help the management and board of these companies to raise enough money to boost the standard of the companies,” Dr. Steve Manteaw, co-chair of Ghana’s Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (GHEITI) said in Accra.
According to him, this will also save the companies from collapsing. “This will let Ghanaians to become part owners of the companies and make decisions as well. The process will also enhance efficiency,” he added.
At a political forum in Accra recently, some political parties were of the view that GNPC should be scrapped off, reason been that the company is not serving the interest of Ghanaians and not performing as well.
Others also believed that the GNPC should have the capacity to own it oil blocks if it wants to be a player in the industry.
But Dr. Manteaw said he is against any decision to scrap off institutions because they are not performing. “I believe that whatever is broken can be fixed,” he added.
He mentioned that the problem with GNPC has to do with excessive governmental control. “The situation where we put GNPC on the national budget, feeding it like a baby which never grows must stop,” he urged the government.
“We have gotten to a point where we have to take off GNPC from the national budget and let GNPC go and fed for itself,” said Dr. Manteaw.
He cited the then Ghana Commercial Bank which was then controlled by the government. “A decision was taken to offload government stake on the GSE and it was oversubscribed. Today GCB is a successful business venture,” he pointed out.
Dr. Manteaw said GNPC in the same manner can be offloaded on the stock market so that individual Ghanaians can become owners of their national oil company.
He said similar things happen in other countries like Norway where national oil companies are offloaded for the citizenry to own part of the firms.
“When we go to Annual General Meeting (AGM) we can decided whether or not we are happy with GNPC performance and change management when we want to change them,” he stated.
Commenting on the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), the Campaign Coordinator of Integrated Social Development (ISODEC) said the problem with the Ghana’s oil refinery is inefficiency that arises on treating TOR as a dumping ground of party foot soldiers adding to the overhaul of the operational cost of TOR.
He said “if we are to float TOR on the GSE and individual Ghanaians buy into the company, we can then introduce accountability on which the company operates and this dumping of foot soldiers on TOR will stop and we can see turnaround of the company’s fortune.”
He called for majority stake in GNPC and TOR to be given to Ghanaians so that government becomes a minority shareholder.