In an article I wrote on June 17, 2020, following an increment in the BOST Margin, I urged Ghanaians, especially those who were not in favour of the increment, to rather demand that the Management of BOST put the monies they would generate from the increment to good use.
I iterated that Ghanaians would want to see the management utilizing the BOST Margin judiciously. I further stated that Ghanaians would want to see the dysfunctional pipelines repaired for the restoration of fuel transportation through pipelines and not Bulk Road Vehicles (BRVs), and the rehabilitation of the BOST storage tanks that had been down for several years. These, notwithstanding, I pushed for an end to BOST being used as a cash cow to finance political party activities during elections but instead make BOST a dividend-paying entity.
It was my view that should management work hard to meet these suggestions and requests, it was going to make Ghanaians have confidence in the management and would not be too worried if there is a proposal to increase BOST Margin in the future.
For those who may not be familiar with the petroleum downstream industry and for that matter BOST Margin, permit me to explain what BOST Margin is all about.
BOST Margins is one of the components of petroleum price build-up. BOST Margin was introduced in 2011 as a form of a levy for BOST to use to cover the maintenance and expansion of pipeline infrastructure for the transportation of petroleum products to its depots. The BOST Margin was pegged at Ghc0.3 pesewas in 2011 but remained unchanged until 2020 when it was adjusted upward to Ghc 0.6 pesewas per litre on fuel.
Having explained what BOST Margin is all about, what we should ask ourselves is whether the BOST Margin has been utilized efficiently and judiciously two years after the increment was effected.
I was privileged to be among a few selected journalists who were invited by the management of BOST as part of the end of year stakeholder engagement with the media to present their performance for the year and what they intend to do in 2022 and beyond.
I must say it was refreshing to see the kind of work the management has used the funds from the BOST Margin for, for the past two years.
There were about 19 key projects that BOST Margin was being used to execute. Among the projects include Accra Plain Depot Rehabilitation works, Accra Plains Administration project, Repair of B2P3 pipeline, TAPP Refurbishment, TAPP Surveillance system, Bolgatanga Bulk Road Vehicle Park, Kumasi Depot Rehabilitation Works, Repair of 12 out of 16 Tanks at APD, Kumasi, Buipe and Bolgatanga, Remedial works on twin 18″, Repair of marine assets (barges and tugboats), Construction of BRV parking lot at APD, Tema –Kumasi petroleum pipeline-FEED, LPG FEED, supply & installation of mass flow meters, pumps & loading arms and Maintenance of offloading platform at Kumasi depot. The company budgeted GHc 260.42M and has so far expended Ghs111.53M.
These projects are verifiable for all those who want to do so. I recall that sometime in 2021, the management of BOST transported Civil Society Groups (CSOs) working in the energy sector and some journalists to visit their depots to witness the projects they were executing with funds accrued from the BOST Margin.
The CSOs testified to the transformation that was taking place at the BOST depots and praised the Managing Director and his team for working hard to get most of the company’s assets which were decaying back to life.
It is instructive to note that a few years ago, BOST was always in the news for very bad reasons. Interestingly, the narrative has changed and the once debt-ridden state enterprise is en route to being turned into a profit-making entity within two years and five months since Edwin Nii Obodai Provencal was appointed.
I recall when Mr Provencal, who was then a Technical Advisor to John-Peter Amewu, former Minister for Energy, was appointed for his position, two people at the Ministry of Energy and a Ghanaian in the USA who had met him four months before his appointment expressed doubt that he would succeed at BOST. I had no idea why they were casting doubt about Mr Provencal’s ability. Whatever might be their reasons, Mr Provencal has proved them wrong.
For him to have succeeded at BOST means he has been diligent, tactical, disciplined and strategic.
One has to be disciplined, diligent and follow the godly counsel to succeed at BOST. BOST, as we all know, is a strategic stock-keeping company, therefore, its efficiency would guarantee fuel security for all Ghanaians, therefore, we must be happy and commend the current leadership for utilizing the BOST Margin efficiently and cleaning the greater part of the mess created in the past.
The writer is the editor of energynewsafrica.com. He is an award-winning journalist, strategic communicator and a researcher