Ghana’s energy sector is gradually getting out of the woods, Mr John Peter Amewu, the Energy Minister, has said.
He said noted that at the end of 2019, all Government bills with the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has been paid and Government had a credit of GH¢500,000.00 with ECG.
He said under the leadership of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Government was committed to addressing the financial challenges of the energy sector and that they were on course to fulfilling it.
Mr Amewu said this on Tuesday in Accra, when he gave an update on efforts being made by the Government to clear some of its outstanding debts owed to ECG, during the meet the press series engagement organised by the Ministry of Information to give an update on the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said on assumption of office (in 2017), the administration was confronted with a huge indebtedness to ECG; stating that “For your information, as of December 2016, when the NDC (National Democratic Congress) left office, then under former President John Dramani Mahama, the entire bills owed ECG by Government at that time was GH¢2.63 billion”.
He said the NPP (New Patriotic Party) Government on assumption of office, ensured that it was current on bills incurred during its tenure from 2017 to date.
He said the Government had paid two billion Ghana cedis annually to cover its bills with the ECG.
“Today, at the end of 2019, all government bills with ECG have been paid and Government had a credit of GH¢500,000.00 with ECG,” Mr Amewu said.
“With an average bill payment of about GH¢100,000.00 per month, the credit balance of over GH¢500,000.00, is enough and more than enough to pay for government bills from January to April, 2020.”
He said it was also interesting to note that an unreconciled additional payments GH¢4.14 billion had also been made to various fuel suppliers of power producers, which was yet to be credit to Government in an ongoing reconciliation exercise.
Mr Amewu said if this amount of GH¢4.14 billion, in addition to the credit of GH¢500,000.00, which Government had given, if the reconciliation was done, it means Government was in a comfortable position to inform viable consumers of electricity that the sector was gradually getting out of the woods.
He said the energy sector reform programme, which instituted had already been approved by Cabinet.
“I am happy to report that under the energy sector reform programme, government will continue to work towards a reliable and effective electricity company in this period,” the Minister said.
With regards to the Government’s utility mitigation package for Ghanaians, Mr Amewu said, Government has already made some payments to ECG as a result of the COVID-19 (energy) subsidy that was introduced for a period of three months.
“You will recollect that President Akufo-Addo made a broadcast to the nation that as part of the alleviation strategy during the period of the COVID-19 Ghanaians are expected to enjoy some reliefs from utility companies,” he said.
“And I am happy to announce that that process is currently ongoing. And customers throughout the country have demonstrated and testified that this relief from the Government is actually real,” Mr Amewu added.