Business News of 2014-05-22

Prez Mahama seals electricity agreement with TAQA

Government has given a boost to its age long desire to achieve electricity generation to 5,000 megawatts by 2016 brokering a deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the construction of a 350MW power plant in the Western Region.

The project is to be undertaken in phases by TAQA, with the first phase producing 100MW of electricity, in line with plans by government to double installed generating capacity to 5,000MW by 2016.

Mr Ben Dotsei Malor, Head of Communications and presidential spokesperson, who announced during a briefing session after the deal said the combined cycle power plant project would also witness the production of 100,000 cubic metres of desalinated water daily.

The deal was reached following talks and the subsequent signing of an MoU between President John Mahama and the Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs of the UAE, Sheik Al Gaith, at the Presidential Villa at Akosombo in the Eastern Region.

Ghana’s energy demand of between seven and eight per cent per annum has compelled government to explore several options including renewable sources and coal-powered plants to ensure enough supply for both domestic and industrial consumption.

Currently the total national installed capacity is more than 2,800MW. The talks between government officials and the UAE team also resulted in an offer of 100 million dollars grant to the government from the Abu Dhabi Development Fund for the undertaking of various infrastructure projects.

Describing the discussions as constructive, Mr. Malor stated that it has huge employment and economic expansion opportunities for the country pointing out that the project would build a 350MW power plant at Takoradi in the Western Region was different from the current ongoing expansion works at TICO.

He indicated that the discussions also centered on port expansion at Tema to enhance its capacity to handle more goods, improve on the turn-around time for vessels that dock there, thereby enabling the country to be the preferred destination point by vessels operating in the sub-region.

Mr. Malor stated that the extraction of large deposits of bauxite at the Nyinahin enclave in the Ashanti Region also came up strongly during the deliberations, saying it fed into President Mahama’s vision of promoting the development of an integrated aluminum industry in Ghana.

He said during the talks, President Mahama also mentioned the increase in the number of passengers in the aviation sector and urged the investors to explore that area as well.

In a related development, a 25-investment team from Mauritius also called on President Mahama at the Presidential Villa at Akosombo, to discuss trade and investment opportunities to the mutual benefit of the two countries.

The delegation was led by Mr. Xavier-Luc Duval, Deputy Prime Minister of Mauritius, who also doubles as that country’s Minister of Finance. Receiving them, President Mahama said the government was looking forward to signing a bilateral agreement on the avoidance of double taxation between Ghana and Mauritius to facilitate cooperation in several fields.

He acknowledged Mauritius expertise in the textiles and garments industry and in the field of tourism, saying these were areas the government was keen to forge partnerships in.

Mr. Duval indicated that Mauritius was eager to open a new chapter in its relations with Ghana this year, and was interested in partnerships that would be mutually beneficial.

He lauded measures by the government to improve the country’s economic performance, indicating that the investment team was open for business before retiring into a closed- door session.