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The Public Utility Workers Union (PUWU), has lambasted the US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert Jackson, for claiming that it was too late to renegotiate the Millennium Compact II which seeks to privatize parts of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
PUWU further accused the US Ambassador of “tacitly blackmailing” the government of Ghana into implementing the compact.
Mr. Jackson in a media interview claimed that “it’s too late to renegotiate [the compact II]… we are certainly willing to talk about how it will be executed. I’m certain that the compact as it’s structured it’s great for Ghana.”
But Speaking to Citi News, PUWU insisted that, the comment seeks to tie the hands of government; a situation they argue breaches sections of the compact that provides for amendments.
While decrying the silence of government over the matter, the General Secretary of PUWU, Michael Adumatta Nyantakyi, called on President Akufo-Addo to as a matter of urgency make good his campaign promise of engaging stakeholders on the matter.
“The United States Ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Robert Jackson reacted with remarks that it was too late for renegotiation so government should go ahead with the implementation of the compact. The US Ambassador’s remark is viewed as unfortunate.”
Although Mr. Nyantakyi said PUWU was not against the Compact II, he explained that they are only “opposed to the handing over of ECG to a private entity for 25 years. The union is against the single concession which is tantamount to creating a virtual drive monopoly in the electricity distribution,” he added.
The PUWU General Secretary further noted that, during the electioneering, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo promised to hold wide consultations before rolling out the Compact II, if elected into office.
According to him, the President should fulfill the promise by taking a decision on the matter.
“In the course of the campaign, the then candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in an answer to a question in this hall, promised that, should he be elected into office, he will undertake consultations with stakeholders including labour before taking any decision. PUWU believes that it is time for complex actions to be taken for the proposed dialogue to be initiated with labour and other stakeholders, so that views from the consultation will assist the President in taking the best decision on the matter,” Mr. Nyanatakyi added.
The Compact II agreement
Ghana and the Millennium Challenge Corporation of the US government signed the second Compact in October 2016.
The agreement brought to total $1.4 billion received by the government to be injected into the country’s energy sector geared towards making the ECG more efficient.
The project under the compact includes the ECG Financial and Operational Turnaround Project, NEDCo Financial and Operational Turnaround Project, Regulatory Strengthening and Capacity Building Project, and Access Project.
The rest are Power Generation Sector Improvement Project and Energy Efficiency, and Demand Side Management Project.
Ghana should be fighting against ECG concession
However, a number of institutions including civil society organisations, have kicked against its implementation.
A member of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), Dr. Steve Manteaw recently argued that the country should completely reject the MCC Compact II.
In Dr. Manteaw’s view, “the credibility of the whole concession arrangement has been shattered completely” insisting that “we should be rejecting it outright.”
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