FORMAL OPENING OF THE OIL REFINERY
Tema, September 28, 1963
The opening of this oil refinery in Ghana is significant in that, it marks an important stage in our investment and development programme. Since the attainment of our political independence, there has been no doubt in our minds as to the direction in which our duty lay, namely, to develop Ghana into a modern industrial state. lt is only in this way that we can survive as an independent country.
To achieve this objective, we have to rid ourselves of the economic patterns and institutions of imperialism left behind by colonialism. It was necessary to instil confidence in ourselves and to share that confidence with our people. We were convinced that we could meet and surpass all the challenges which our independence had imposed on us.
But in actual fact, we faced a greater hostility that we had dreamt of. We swung into action as one people to lay the economic foundations for a socialist Ghana. The opening of this oil refinery is a testimony of this determination.
Oil is the lifeblood of industry. It is as important for industry as water is for human existence. The politics of it is even more complicating. Without oil, the wheels of industry refuse to turn. That is why the Government has decided to buttress its programme of industrialisation by the establishment of an oil refinery in Ghana.
This Oil Refinery, with its oil processing capacity of one million metric tons, and built at a cost of nearly Ghanaian pounds 81/2 million, is one of the six largest refineries in Africa. As our industrial programme expands, it will be possible to expand the refinery to a capacity of two or three times its present size.
I can now look back to the period of long and protracted discussions which took place, leading to an agreement concluded on the 21st January, 1961, between the Government of Ghana and the AGIP MINERARIA which led to the formation of the Ghanaian-Italian Petroleum Company which has given birth to this Oil Refinery.
The Ghanaian-Italian Petroleum Company is an inter-state enterprise of a special kind. And here I must pay tribute to a friend. It is interesting to note that AGIP MINERARIA itself, which has given birth to Ghana-Italian Petroleum Company, owes its origin and growth to the vision and foresight of a politician and entrepreneur who harnessed his commercial genius with state enterprises in his own country. This is indeed an example of how the genius and skill of patriotic citizens can be put at the disposal of the State and not for the exploitation of the many by the few.
The lamentable and untimely death of Signor Enrico Mattei in an air crash near Milan last October, robbed Italy of one of its great captains of State Industry. It was he who formed the state-owned oil industry, E.N.I. out of which AGIP MINERARIA comes into being. AGIP MINERARIA in its turn gave birth to the GHANAIANITALIAN PETROLEUM COMPANY here in Ghana. E.N.I. prospered under Enrico Mattei’s distinguished leadership, and extended its, interests widely: for example, E.N.I. controlled atomic enterprises, synthetic rubber plants, cement factories and a string of hotels.
By making Italy the largest importer of Russian oil in the West and by combining state enterprise with private capital, Signor Mattei broke the foreign oil monopolies which battered on Italy’s industries and created conditions for the Italian oil Industry which make it an acceptable partner for the development of our own oil industries.
The authorised share capital of the Ghanaian-Italian Petroleum Company is Three Million Four Hundred Thousand Pounds, made up of ordinary shares of One Pound each. The total amount is subscribed equally by two Italian companies AGIP MINERARIA and A.N.LC. Under the Agreement which we have signed, Ghanaian-Italian Petroleum Company will transfer to the Government of Ghana fifty per cent of the issued capital on the eleventh anniversary of the production date (that is, the first day of the month following that in which the refinery commenced production), and the Government of Ghana will be entitled to fifty per cent share of the profits. The Government of Ghana will also appoint the Chairman of the Board of Directors and one half of the membership.
Meanwhile, Ghanaian-Italian Petroleum Company have undertaken, commencing with the production date, to pay into a Special Sinking Fund such sums as will produce, together with compound interest at settlement date, an amount equal to one-half of the cost of the Refinery; the amount paid into the ` Special Sinking Fund shall belong to the Government of Ghana.
This is a new form of economic and industrial relationship which Signor Mattei and I tried to evolve as another pattern of foreign investment in developing countries.
Another aspect of this Agreement is that, the Ghanaian-Italian Petroleum Company will train and employ Ghanaian technical and administrative staff which eventually could take over the management. The Government of Ghana have the final say in determining the prices of the products of this Oil Refinery.
It is my Government’s intention that this Refinery should become a vital part of the infrastructure for the establishment of other industries in Ghana. I have therefore directed that first among the many by-products of petroleum, immediate consideration should be given to the establishment of a fertilizer industry in Ghana. By the establishment of this fertilizer industry, it will be possible to increase our present agricultural production many times over.
When I had the occasion a month ago to open another industrial enterprise, the Unilever Soap Factory here in Tema, I pointed out the need for continental planning in Africa. This Oil Refinery could have been built with an initial capacity five times its present size. But this could not be done because of our limitation in money and resources. This limitation was caused solely by the fact of our disunity in Africa which precludes planning on a continental basis. For, as long as we remain disunited and our trade remains subject to the interests of the manufacturing industries of the imperialist powers, we cannot achieve large-scale industrial development in Africa. Thus, for example, if our imports are more than our exports, and our trade balance unfavourable, and if our reserves are such that we cannot off-set our budget deficit, then we cannot stand up to the ravages and overtures of the neo-colonialist powers. Here we have another illustration of how the African States have denied themselves of the full advantages of development by the absence of continental unity and a unified economic continental planning.
I am glad to welcome to this ceremony Mr. Marcello Boldrini, the President of E.N.I., and His Excellency Mr. Giorgio Bo, Italian Minister of State Participation. You see, even in Italy, there is a Minister for State Participation. I would like to express to them and to the other delegates of the Italian Government and AGIP MINERARIA, our appreciation of their efforts for the interest in helping to establish this Oil Refinery in Ghana.
The factory buildings which we all see here are of the most modern design and construction: the machinery is of the most modern in its class. Within these factory buildings, we shall be producing for the first time in Ghana liquid petroleum gas, normal gasoline, premium gasoline and diesel oil, kerosene, gas oil and fuel oil-all of which will stimulate industrial activity. These "made in Ghana" petroleum products will make for a substantial reduction in our dependence on imported sources of energy. This Refinery will help us to acquire new skills and contribute greatly to our national development.
I am sure that what we see here today is only the beginning of an important upsurge in our industrial programme. May this Refinery justify the confidence and the faith which our people have placed in us and in its success.
And now, Your Excellencies, Nananom, Ladies and Gentlemen, I have great pleasure in declaring this Oil Refinery officially open.