Business News of Thu, 4 May 20173
Government working on reliable and cheap power - Deputy Trade Minister
Deputy Trade and Industry Minister, Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah, has indicated that government is considering various interventions in the energy sector that will make power more reliable and affordable, as it seeks to empower the private sector to create the much-needed jobs to drive the economy.
“Very soon, if you want to be an Independent Power Producer (IPP) and you can’t produce at 11cents per kilowatt hour, then it will not be possible. We came into power when power was selling at 42cents per kilowatt hour; currently, it stands at 17cents, but the government’s target is 11cents and we will get there somehow,” he told a gathering of businessmen at the 4th Business Executive Excellence Awards held over the weekend in Accra.
According to Mr. Ahenkorah, government’s understanding of growth is linked to the creation of jobs to be achieved through the strong contribution of the private sector hence the need for a conducive and competitive business environment, especially in the energy sector.
Access to cheap power remains the long-standing concern of businesses that are yet to recover from the shocks of half a decade of erratic power supply.
Current electricity demand for the country stands at about 2,225MW. This is growing by 10 percent per annum and is expected to hit 7,000MW by 2030.
Presently, VRA and other Independent Power Producers (IPPs) together have an installed capacity of about 3,644MW.
However, constraints on fuel sources for power generation -- crude oil, gas and water for hydro power generation -- have necessitated the need for exploring cost-effective, reliable, and clean energy and power sources.
Given the current gas demand of about 450Mscf per day, indigenous gas and limited supply from the West Africa Gas Pipeline are unable to meet demand. Available indigenous gas is also expected to run out by 2036, according to energy experts.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, therefore, recently broke grounds for the construction of a US$953million 400MW power plant, known as the Bridge Power, in Tema.
The project is expected to address the long-term energy requirements of Ghana by providing over 17percent of the country’s reliable generating capacity.
The project, which is funded by the EPL Consortium-- made up of GE Power, Endeavor Energy, and Sage-- can be powered by either LPG, natural gas, or diesel.
The new energy investments are in line with cheap and reliable power solutions that manufacturing industries have been advocating for. The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), for instance, has continually demanded of government to take out the tax components on electricity tariffs as a way of bringing down the high cost of power which is a threat to business sustainability and competitiveness.
Mr. Ahenkorah assured the business community of government’s strong commitment to the development of the private sector as a key economic partner.
He mentioned several interventions such as stimulus package for distressed companies, development of small and medium-sized enterprises as well as plans to sanitise the domestic trade environment.
The Business Executive Excellence Awards seeks to recognise individuals, corporate organisations and institutions that have made exemplary achievements in their various fields of operations.
Broadly, it seeks to promote a competitive business environment that will stimulate national socio-economic growth.
This year’s edition, which was on the theme: “Positioning to take advantage of expansionary macroeconomic policy,” saw about 29 corporate institutions and business leaders being honoured for their sterling achievement across the sectors of insurance, health, aviation, information technology as well as banking and finance.
Enterprise Life Insurance Company Limited was awarded “Insurance Company of the Year”; Delta Airlines won “Airline of the Year—International”; Subah Infosolutions was the “ICT Company of the Year” while OmniBank was adjudged Emerging Brand of the Year.
Chief Executive Officer of FRIMPS Oil, Kwaku Frimpong, was adjudged “CEO of the Year”; Dr. Mustapha Oti Boateng won the award for “Most Innovative Entrepreneur of the Year; Westblue Consulting Limited was adjudged “Best in Innovative Business Facilitation while the CEO of RegencyNem Insurance, Bode Oseni, was the “CEO of the Year—Insurance”.