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Business News Wed, 24 May 2017

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ECG privatization: Energy Minister might have hidden agenda – Manteaw

The Co-Chair of the multi-stakeholder committee of the Ghana Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (GHEITI), Dr. Steve Manteaw has said the Minister of Energy, Boakye Agyarko consistent criticism of the Electricity Company of Ghana may be because of the pending privatization.

The sector minister on several platforms consistently criticized the management of ECG for the inefficiencies within the company.

ECG is under consideration for a concessionary agreement.

According to Mr. Manteaw, Mr. Agyarko might have a hidden agenda against the company.

“If the minister [of Energy] does not have any hidden agenda, then I think what he is doing is not helpful. But if he has hidden agenda to give ECG a bad name in order to hang her to take her to the path that he wants to take her then I’m not sure some of us will take it lightly because there will be some kind of resistance,” Mr. Manteaw, an ardent observer of the energy sector said on Eyewitness News on Tuesday.

Mr. Manteaw also accused the Energy Minister of bad faith of taking such tangent because the biggest debtor of ECG was government.

According to him ECG is struggling because of huge debts owed it by government and some institutions in the country.

“…Because there is an ongoing dialogue it doesn’t make for good faith for the Minister of Energy to take any least opportunity he gets to chastise ECG and to speak to the so called inefficiencies at ECG especially where he deliberately overlook government’s own complicity in actually bringing ECG where it is today.

We are all aware that government’s indebtedness to ECG is the biggest challenge facing the cash flow situation that ECG finds itself today. And so if the Minister goes on a trajectory of lambasting ECG without speaking to the fact that government itself has been negligent in honouring its obligations to ECG then it’s a demonstration of bad faith,” he argued.

ECG privatization deal

The Ghana government is seeking to cede ECG under a concessionary agreement to allow private participation in the affairs of ECG for a period of 25 years.

The deal is part of the Ghana Power Compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) for a grant of US$498,200,000 to improve the performance of Ghana’s power sector to unlock the country’s economic potential, create jobs, and reduce poverty.

The agreement has suffered some setbacks in the past because some workers of ECG complained that the deal is not in the interest of the country hence was unable to kick start in the previous administration.

Bidders’ conference

Meanwhile, the incumbent New Patriotic Party (NPP) is hoping to court some consensus on the deal in order to implement it.

Speaking at the first Bidders’ Conference on in Accra on Tuesday, Mr. Agyarko said there was the need to adopt measures to prevent ECG from collapsing.

He lamented that “years of inadequate investment, inefficiencies within the utility, and a large stock of outstanding receivables, particularly in the distribution sector, have all conspired to weaken the organizations in the sector to what they are today.”

“As a nation, we should set our sights firmly on turning around the fortunes of this strategic sector which so many of us have poured our sweat into building,” he added.

Source: citifmonline.com

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