Ghanaian shareholders of Tullow Oil plc have registered their dissatisfaction with the company’s decision to withhold payment of dividends to them.
The local shareholders at the company’s Shareholders Forum held Wednesday, said they want the oil giant to reinstate payment of their dividends.
"The staff of Tullow is benefitting, you are doing the Corporate Social Responsibility, you are doing all those things...but the sweetness of the pudding is in the eating, can we have a little of the pudding to eat please," a shareholder said.
Another shareholder also said the company cannot continue withholding their benefits with the explanation that oil prices in the world market have dipped.
“There is the possibility that I can lose money but it can't continue,” he said.
Tullow Oil plc announced in 2017 it will not pay dividends to shareholders following some financial constraints it was facing.
Data made available by the company revealed its profits declined by eight percent between 2015 and 2016. This represents a drop from $591 million to $546 million within one year.
This led to an after tax loss of about $600 million at the end of 2016.
Although the company admitted raking in profit in its operations in Ghana, payment of dividend to shareholders has not been done.
The local shareholders who thronged the conference room at the Movenpick Hotel in Accra charged the company to cut down on its corporate social responsibility (CSR) and to re-channel the funds into payment of dividend.
Addressing the concerns of the shareholders, Tullow Group CEO, Paul McDade said it was the decision by the company's Board to suspend payment of the dividend.
He said when the oil prices dipped in 2014, the company was already working on the $4 billion Tweneboa, Enyeba, Ntomme (TEN) field offshore so it could not stop its investment.
Tullow Group CEO, Paul McDade
Mr McDade said a decision was taken to reset the company, suspend dividend, and curtail exploration activities which led to a reduction in the number of staff by 40 percent.
The Tullow Group CEO said these measures were taken to ensure that the company has the right liquidity to see to the development of the TEN field.
Chairman of Tullow Ghana and Kenya, Ike Duker added the company was at "pains" when it decided to suspend payment of dividend to shareholders.
He expressed optimism payment would be reinstated if the oil industry recover from the price shock. "We are seeing how quickly the industry will recover so that we can reinstate the dividend."