NPP accuses Government’s conflicting figures on TOR’s debt

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) on Wednesday said it declared the state of Tema Oil Refinery’s (TOR) debt before leaving office in January 2009 and slammed the Government for providing conflicting figures on the debt.

The NPP said TOR’s outstanding debt as at December 2008 was GH¢9.27 million incurred mainly due to under recoveries.

The Minority indicated that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government had often resorted to maligning the NPP administration blaming it (NPP) for worsening TOR debt.

Speaking at a press conference in Parliament, the Minority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, flanked by a number of NPP members, said from the time the NDC Government took office, there had been nine figures of the TOR’s debt quoted by different Government functionaries including President John Mills and his Vice John Mahama.

He said President Mills in an interaction with some journalists in the castle in 2009 quoted ¢1.14 billion while in 2010 on the same platform, he quoted GH¢380 million as the TOR debt. Moses Asaga, Member of Parliament for Nabdam also quoted ¢1 billion, he noted.

The Minority Leader said five months into the NDC regime in May 2009, the Government Transitional Team released a document supposed to have come from TOR itself, which put the level of TOR’s debt at GH¢473 million.

He stated that the Vice President Mr Mahama said on Metro TV that TOR’s debt as at December 2008 was GH¢930 million while the Energy Minister, Dr Oteng Adjei said on the floor of Parliament that the debt at the close of December 2008 was 106 million.

On the floor of Parliament on December 2010, he said, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Dr Kwabena Duffuor quoted 445 million as the TOR debt.

The Chief Executive of the National Petroleum Authority, Mr Alex Mould, he added said the TOR’s debt was GH¢1.5 million. Again he said, Mr Fiifi Kwetey a Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, mentioned TOR’s debt as GH¢1.448 billion.

“The President’s image makers portray him as a man of integrity and as such may not want his double tongue to be questioned. The President’s new figure conflicts with that of his Ministers, appointees and spokespersons,” he said.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said in a report presented to the Transitional Team on Energy, TOR reported that its debt stock of net debt as at January 1, 2001 amounted to GH¢276.77 million comprising current liability due to under-recovery (Government Subsidy) of GH¢201.5 million and a long term loan of GH¢75.27 million for capital assets.

He said it was reported that from 2001 to 2007, TOR made an additional losses of GH¢193.77 million due to government induced subsidy as well as debt owed by security agencies to TOR.

He noted that an additional long–term loan of GH¢97.36 million for capital asset was also contracted, adding that in 2008 there was further under-recovery (Subsidy) of GH¢96.52 million and losses from holding stocks (resulting from reduction in pump prices) that amounted to GH¢42.05 million.

He said in 2008 Government policy on petroleum pricing caused TOR accumulated additional debt of GH¢138.57 million, adding that GH¢268 million had accumulated as result of direct interest cost on the principal debt accumulated over the period from 2001 to 2008.

“It can therefore be concluded that at the end of 2008 the stock of debt that TOR accumulated from the principal and interest due to government action and inaction amounts to GH¢801.84 million,” he said.

He said the NPP Administration in order to address the problem of the original stock of net debt of GH¢201.5 million that it had inherited, issued bonds to pay off part of the debt, the initial stock of which was GH¢97.94 million.

Again in 2002 the NPP Government issued an additional bonds amounting to GH¢142.1 million to retire part of the debt, adding that government still issued another bonds of GH¢46.89 in 2004 also to retire part of the debt.

The Minority Leader said Government in addition to the bonds issued, cash payments was made to TOR amounting to GH¢50.73 million and stated that by the end of 2004 Government had made a total payment of GH¢337.66 million towards the retirement of the TOR debt stock.

“The information we have provided is up to December 31, 2008. These are old hard facts,” he said.

He said the NDC should tell Ghanaians what had happened to the TOR debt from January 7, 2009 to date – what amount had been added to the debt by their own commission and omission.

He charged the Government to the losses accumulated to the economy at TOR by allowing the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to purchase crude oil for TOR.

“Above all, the nation will have to be informed about the losses to the economy since January 2009 occasioned by the inability to supply crude oil to TOR for the long period in 2009 in particular and early 2010 and the practice of importing petrol products,” he said.

He again called on the Government to inform the public about what percentage of the 30 per cent increase in petrol prices was attributable to the TOR debt.

Source: GNA

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