Business News of 2014-03-17

Mahama sends Energy Minister to Nigeria over gas supply to Ghana

President John Mahama has instructed Energy and Petroleum Minister, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah to go to Nigeria, Monday, and hold talks with his counterpart there in a bid to ending Ghana's power crisis.

Ghanaians are enduring erratic power supply again after electricity consumers contended with a year-long load management in 2013. Currently, there is a shortage in the supply of gas from Nigeria to power thermal plants in Takoradi to generate power to complement what is produced from the Akosombo Hydro-electric Dam.

Officials of the Volta River Authority, (VRA) Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) -Producers, Transmitters and Distributors in the power sector respectively -formally announced a "temporary load management" exercise beginning Monday, March 17, due to generation challenges.

But addressing senior clergymen at the Flastaff House Monday, president Mahama announced, the Energy Minister will leave the country today to Nigeria to discuss with authorities of the West Africa Gas Pipeline Company (WAPCo) on improving supply of natural gas to power Ghana's thermal generators. The Nigeria Gas Company (NGC) has failed to deliver the required volume of gas it agreed with Ghana to supply.

The president has however asked consumers to bear with government, while efforts are being made to solve the current challenges. In a related development, former Chief Executive for the VRA, Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby says Ghana should cancel the contract it entered into with NGC for its failure to respect the terms of the agreement.

"There are serious obligations on government to ensure that there is consistency in the power sector," the Energy expert stated on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM, Monday.

The Chief Policy Analyst at the Ghana Institute of Policy Options (GIPPO) said the instability in the country's power sector does not emanate from lack of planning but the lack of will to execute the plans.

There are plans about what to do to ensure uninterrupted power supply but the inability of government to put those plans into action, is the result of the recent developments, Dr. Wereko-Brobby maintained.