The Public Utilities Workers Union (PUWU) has described as a cheap and lazy the approach by government in addressing challenges of the Electricity Company of Ghana.
Deputy Energy Minister in charge of petroleum, Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, on Tuesday, November 10 at an energy forum, announced that the government is looking for avenues to handover ECG to a private concessionaire for management.
It comes a year after the botched PDS scandal.
But the General Secretary of the PUWU Michael Adom-Attah Nyantakyi says the comment by the deputy Minister is not surprising.
He noted that government will not have been able to give free water and electricity during the Covid-19 induced lockdown if the management of such state companies were in private hands.
He told Naa Dedei Tetteh on Starr Today “for me it comes not very strange because the time the government said they were cancelling the contract of PDS, they did indicate that they were still going to go through a process to give ECG out to private sector participation.”
“It is very unfortunate that our government has this perception, very erroneous that it is only the private sector entities that can run some of these state corporations efficiently. The assumption is based on so many factors that have over the years been proven across many countries that there are certain utilities if you want it to benefit the state, we need to meet certain conditions. In our country, we are not trying to meet these conditions and at the same time we are expecting the utilities to run efficiently.”
He went on “we are always manipulating the tariffs and it’s never cost-reflective and it keeps incurring debts and then we pretend as if we are addressing those issues. The efficiency of ECG we have always indicated is very simple, the problem with the company is not about the staff, we need to exempt political interference to allow proper management systems to run within the company and we allow cost-reflective tariffs that will ensure that resources are available for the company to run.”
Mr Nyantakyi was of the view that with efficient management devoid of political interference, ECG can raise enough money for its operations and do far better, citing “when covid came and the government started giving free water and free electricity as a way of helping, could they have done that if the companies were private entities?”
He advised that “we need to think far and not look at very parochial ways of addressing issues.”
“For me, I’m very much disappointed government is going on with the privatization, instead of addressing the key issues of management and the key issues of proper tariffs regulation to enable the company to operate without excess political interference.”
He added “it is a very lazy, cheap, approach which is being adopted. And at the end of the day if we are not careful we will come back in the same circle we went with PDS and we will realize that we just cut our nose to spite our face.”