General News of Sun, 26 Feb 201710
If we fail on energy, our entire economic recovery strategy will crumble - Kwarteng
Obuasi West Member of Parliament has given the biggest assurance yet that the Nana Akufo-Addo led government will solve the power crisis which is gradually returning across many parts of the country.
Kweku Kwarteng said if the government fails on energy, its entire strategy to develop this country will evaporate into thin air.
He said the NPP strategy is heavily dependent on the private sector and if power, which is the oil needed to run the private sector vehicle is in short supply, the vehicle will ground to a halt.
He was speaking on Joy FM/MultiTV's news analysis programme, Newsfile, Saturday, during which Ghana's crippling energy sector was a topical issue.
For over four years under the John Mahama government, power crisis, popularly called dumsor was a big headache for the government.
Several hundreds of people lost their jobs, businesses collapsed, market and residential fires all of which were directly attributed to power fluctuations became the order of the day.
The NDC government became unpopular, with the NPP promising to solve the problem if it wins the 2016 elections.
Admittedly the power outages reduced remarkably in the last quarter of 2016 but that did not stop the NDC from losing the election.
Barely two months into the administration of president Nana Akufo-Addo, the dreaded power paralysis in Ghana is gradually coming back.
In his first State of the Nation Address to Parliament, the president said the energy sector is indebted to a tune of $244 billion.
The debts notwithstanding, the president was quick to add that he was not voted into power to complain but to solve problems and he will do just that.
Buttressing the president's point on Newsfile, Kweku Kwarteng said: "It is in our interest as a government that we do not see this kind of dumsor.
"We recognize our strategy is based on private sector development. If we fail on energy we will fail on our entire strategy will do whatever it takes to solve dumsor," he said.
The Deputy Trade and Industry Minister under the John Mahama government Kweku Rickett Hagan said the energy sector challenges did not begin in the last four or eight years.
Even though he admits that attempts have been made to solve the problem, he said a more comprehensive solution is needed.
"We need to have a permanent solution. There is still a long way to go."
He said if the NPP wanted to introduce policies that have to do with an increase in expenditure and solve power problems which is capital intensive, he did not understand why the same government is contemplating reducing or removing some taxes.
"Let's wait for the budget," he suggested.