In a bid to safeguard essential infrastructure and bolster economic growth, Edwin Alfred Provencal, Managing Director of Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company (BOST), has passionately advocated for an increment in the BOST margin. This crucial tax, levied on petroleum products, has been the lifeblood of maintenance and expansion efforts at petroleum depots across Ghana.
Currently set at nine pesewas, Mr Provencal contends that the prevailing rate falls short of meeting the mounting maintenance costs amidst the backdrop of cedis depreciation. To address these pressing concerns, he proposes a modest increase of four pesewas, elevating the BOST margin to 12 pesewas.
For BOST, the margin constitutes a pivotal lifeline, sustaining operations at depots that might be deemed commercially unviable but play an indispensable role in keeping the economy thriving. The MD underscored the impact of the BOST margin on the revival of revenue-generating assets, emphasizing the resurgence of once-dormant facilities such as the Buipe to Bolga pipeline, the Akosombo dam barges, and the Tema to Akosombo pipeline, among others.
Without the necessary support derived from the BOST margin, the spectre of shifting focus towards private, profit-driven depots looms large. Such a move could inadvertently sideline regions crucial for the country’s economic health, thereby eroding BOST’s broader social mandate.
“We must be prudent in infrastructure investments, ensuring they remain economically viable. But removing the BOST margin signals a perilous course, compelling us to abandon vital projects essential to powering the nation’s economic lifeline,” Mr Provencal warned speaking in an interview on JoyNews PM Express Business Edition.
The increase in the BOST margin, according to the MD, holds the key to expanding and revitalizing the company’s infrastructure. The benefits transcend the immediate, resonating with the overall economic vitality and stability of the nation.
Echoing the government’s pioneering initiative to drive down oil prices through the ‘Gold for Oil’ program, Mr Provencal advocates a balanced approach that concurrently bolsters the BOST margin. This harmonious strategy aims to galvanize infrastructure expansion and support the nation’s journey towards sustained economic prosperity.
As the debate on the BOST margin’s increment gains momentum, the financial fraternity keenly watches how this crucial chapter in Ghana’s economic narrative unfolds. The question remains whether policymakers will heed the impassioned plea of the BOST MD to bolster the backbone of the nation’s critical petroleum infrastructure.