General News of Sat, 25 Feb 201717
Energy sector was put on 'steroids' - Kofi Bentil
The energy crisis which led to loss of lives, shut down of businesses and layoffs for at least four years under the John Mahama administration was never solved.
It was put on steroids in the last quarter of 2016 to give a semblance of a crisis that has been solved, Vice President of the IMANI Ghana has said.
According to Kofi Bentil, the "steroids are now wearing off" and the dark cloud of the power paralysis popularly called 'dumsor' is gradually returning in full swing and the new administration must get a handle on it.
He was contributing to the energy sector debate on Joy FM's news analysis programme Newsfile, Saturday.
The sector has been described as heavily indebted by the new president Nana Akufo-Addo in his first state of the nation address.
He quoted a $240 billion debt, $800 million of which is owed to the commercial banks, a scenario which the president said is crippling the energy sector.
As if the debt is not enough, the dreaded load shedding programme which kept the country in the dark for most part of the last four years is gradually returning.
At some point in 2015, the country was subjected to a 24-hour-off-12-hours-on load shedding programme which was an inconvenience to domestic and commercial users of electricity.
However, the situation abated in the last quarter of 2016, which was an election year.
The New Patriotic Party had castigated the John Mahama-led administration, accusing them of being incompetent and failing to solve the energy crisis.
Barely two months into office, the dreaded dumsor is returning with a number of residents complaining of unannounced lights out for longer hours. The situation seems to be getting worse in the Ashanti region, where lights are barely on.
The new Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko had rebuffed claims that dumsor had returned but conceded the power outages which people are experiencing may be as a result of localised problems.
Discussing the matter on Newsfile Kofi Bentil said: "Dumsor was never solved.
The energy sector was put on steroids in the last quarter of last year. And the doctors will tell you is that you can get rid of the symptoms but the steroids are wearing off right now and we are going back to the same problem.
Technically we are still using emergency power. You don't solve a problem when you are using emergency power," he charged.
He said the onus now lies with the new government to completely solved a problem he believes is daunting.
Editor in Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Kweku Baako Jnr agreed in part with Kofi Bentil that dumsor was never solved but was quick to add that the NPP has no excuse and must solve the problem.
Former Minister of State in the NDC Kweku Ricketts Hagan on his part said the energy debts did not begin with the NDC.
He would not go into the argument about who caused the dumsor problem but said; "We need to find a permanent solution to the problem.