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Business News Sun, 28 Jun 2015

ECG's challenges cost economy

The daunting challenges facing the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) cost the country five per cent of its Gross Domestic Products (GDP) as the situation had forced the country to violate international standards by recording more than 106 power outages in less than a year instead of a maximum of 10 outages as stipulated for the period.

Dr. Kofi Asamoa-Baah, Technical Advisor at the Ministry of Finance speaking at a forum said the company needs about Ghc400million annually to be able to operate effectively and efficiently and that the major challenge facing the power sector is distribution, inadequate and unreliable power supply, which is as a result of low power generation.

"We cannot maintain the status-quo; things must change for the better for the country. That is why there will be the need to hype the private sector participation to save the dwindling power situation in the country,”

Dr. Asamoa-Baah made this known during a stakeholder consultation forum in Koforidua on government’s decision to adopt a private sector participation in power distribution to correct the present power challenges facing the ECG and the nation at large.

"The present economic difficulties, government cannot raise the amount to assist the sector technically to perform to ameliorate the unbearable load shedding which is crippling businesses."

"All things being equal, the Ministry of Power, would promote the participation of the private sector in power distribution on concession for ECG to distribute quality and affordable electricity to the people."

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Dr. Asamoa-Baah said all assets of ECG would be owned by the government if a private partner takes over adding that not even the recovery of the total debt owed to ECG by its customers would turn things around.

The forum attracted heated expressions of opinions and contributions from stakeholders who were made up of officers and directors of state agencies and departments, the media as well as traders and skills development associations, among others.

Many were against the move to give out ECG on concession and called for better management initiatives to salvage the company from the challenges it is facing.

Others supported the decision but suggested the need for a strong negotiation team be formed to get a better bargain for the country.

They also called for intensive monitoring after the private partner takes over to ensure that the assets of the company are held intact and cautioned that, the agreement on the number of concessionary years should not exceed 10 years.

Source: B&FT
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