Business News Fri, 7 Apr 2017
The Public Utility Workers Union (PUWU) of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has expressed worry about the silence of government over the privatization of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).According to the Union, the long delay on the part of government concerning the consultation process on the ECG privatization creates the impression that the President is dragging its feet on the issue.
At a press conference in Accra yesterday, the Union called on President Akufo-Addo to fulfill his promise of undertaking consultations with stakeholders, including labour, before taking a decision on the privatization of ECG.
Michael Adumatta Nyantakyi, General Secretary of PUWU, in his remarks, said the Union was not opposed to the Compact II in principle.
However, he said PUWU is against the single concession which is tantamount to creating a virtual private monopoly in electricity distribution.
Mr. Nyantakyi said the concessionaire would not have any commitment to the social dimension of ECG’s operations, which would adversely affect rural electrification and undermine government’s ‘one district, one factory’ agenda.
“Obviously tariffs will go up as experience in other countries has shown. The private investor is interested to see hikes in tariffs to boost its profit objective. This will definitely defeat the government’s promise to reduce electricity tariffs,” he said.
“Will the PURC have sufficient authority to compel this investor to submit to its tariff regime? Ghanaians should not lose sight of the dangerous potential of Article 7.1 of the compact, which seeks to override the laws of Ghana,” Mr. Nyantakyi quizzed.
By extension, he said the private investor would not be bound by the tariff guidelines set by the PURC.
This and other aspects of the compact, in particular the privatization of ECG, have informed PUWU’s position on the Compact, Mr. Nyantakyi said.
He said government has a choice between one that satisfies the profit motive of a foreign investor or that which will in long-term help contribute money to the consolidated fund.
“It is a choice between an option that will lead to repatriation of profits from Ghana as against an option that the profits will be retained in the country. Accordingly, the government must take a decision primarily for the benefit of Ghana,” Mr. Nyantakyi said.