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Business News Wed, 3 Mar 2004

Parliament approves C188.2 bn for Ministry of Energy

Accra, March 3, GNA- Parliament on Wednesday approved a sum of 188.2 billion cedis for the Ministry of Energy for the 2004 fiscal year with a call on the Ministry to improve upon power supply to cut down on damages to electrical appliances.

The motion for the approval was moved by the sector Minister, Dr. Paa kwesi Nduom and seconded by Mr Albert Boadi-Mensah, Chairman of the Committee on Mines and Energy.

Dr Nduom said for the year 2004, the Ministry intends to maintain the momentum of the National Electrification Scheme, especially the Rural Electrification programme.

He said various electrification projects in 607 communities would be completed this year, adding that the Self-Help Electrification Project (SHEP) 4-phase would commence by June this year.

"The Ministry would encourage private participation in the provision of infrastructure, importation of crude oil and petroleum products for sale on the local market under the policy of deregulation in the petroleum industry.

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Presenting the committee's observations and recommendations, Mr. Boadi-Mensah said the committee was informed that 28.5 billion cedis of the budgetary allocation would be spent on the national electrification scheme, while 1.9 billion cedis would be spent on the promotion of energy efficiency.

On renewable energy, the Committee Chairman said 120 rural junior secondary schools would be provided with solar PV system and 200 solar PV systems would be installed in the Northern parts of the country for the health centres, police stations and other vital organisations. The renewable energy centre in Appolonia would also be rehabilitated adding that "An estimated 1.55 billion cedis is provided for the projects even though 12 billion cedis is required for their completion,".

Mr. Boadi-Mensah said the existing facilities at the Tema Oil Refinery would be expanded.

"With regards to upstream petroleum, the committee was informed that government has began sourcing for funding for the 16.3 per cent equity interest currently being held by the Volta River Authority (VRA). The 16.3 per cent interest is expected to be between 80 to 90 million US dollars."

Edward Osei Kwaku, NPP-Asokwa West, lauded the Ministry for its rural electrification programmes but requested that tariffs on electricity should be made affordable.

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Mr Edward Doe Adjaho questioned why the SHEP 3 phase 3 programme, had not been completed and yet plans were being made for the SHEP 4 project.

Nana Asante Frimpong, NPP-Kawbre and George Amoo, NPP-Ayawaso West Wuogon, both spoke on power outages and said its was important that the Ministry found a solution to the problem.

Mr Prince Odoru-Mensah, NPP-Techiman-South said tanks should be made available to rural communities to enable them to store kerosene since that was their source of energy.

Dr Kwame Ampofo, NDC-South Dayi, said there was duplication of activities by the Ministry, Energy Commission and the Energy Foundation on matters of ensuring efficiency in the supply of power.

Source: GNA