General News of Thu, 30 Jun 201662
Protests against takeover of ECG misplaced – US Ambassador
The US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert Jackson has described as misplaced, attempts by workers of the Electricity Company of Ghana to frustrate the ceding of part of the management of the institution, to a private entity.
He insists the ECG is saddled with a persistent challenge of not being able to meet demand which makes a pragmatic intervention, undisputed. “I am aware of their opposition but I think it is misplaced I do not think that they understand that this is not privatization.
I think that they need to look at the fact that ECG is deeply in debt and the company has been struggling for years to meet demand and this is an opportunity,” he said. He added, “I believe that the power sector will be much stronger and much more reliable and will be able to provide the industrial base for future growth.”
Government’s attempts to cede part of the management of the ECG over the institution’s underperformance have been met with stiff opposition especially from workers of the power distributor.
The handing over of part of the management of the ECG also forms part of the Compact 2 agreement of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) between the government of Ghana and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) of the US.
Under the agreement, US government contributed 498.2 million dollars while the government of Ghana contributed 37.4 million dollars . This, therefore, brought the total project funds to 535.6 million dollars. The workers of ECG have among other things expressed grave concern over possible job losses.
But speaking to Citi Business News on this development, Ambassador Robert Jackson further reiterated of the job security of the workers.
“The ECG workers need to understand they are guaranteed their jobs for five years, no one will be fired in the first five years of the concession; that is part of the agreement,” he stressed. ECG debts saddle performance The dwindling fortunes of the ECG have largely been attributed to the huge debts owed the company.
Accumulated debts owed the ECG is estimated at 1.5 billion cedis by both private and public consumers.
Meanwhile the Finance Director of the ECG, Frank Anokwarfo recently at a Public Account Committee sitting revealed that the state alone owed about 900 million cedis.
But the ECG has within the past few days commenced cutting power to some state institutions who are in huge debts. Some of the affected institutions are the Cape Coast Stadium and the recently inaugurated Ayensu Starch Factory in Bawjiase in the Awutu Senya West district of the Central region.
Meanwhile it has indicated that government has released funds to the various MMDA’s to settle outstanding debts owed the ECG.