The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Cape Coast South, Kweku Ricketts-Hagan, has sent a message to the Minister of Energy, Emmanuel Boakye Agyarko, and members of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), telling them to stop making noise about the problems of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).Instead, he wants them, especially, the Energy Minister, to bring his expertise to bear in fixing the state utility company that is wallowing in heavy debt and compelling managers of the economy to invite private sector participation (PSP) in the state firm.
Mr. Ricketts-Hagan who is a former deputy Minister of Finance in the immediate past NDC government speaking on the issue on TV 3, Saturday, said the challenges confronting the ECG cannot be solved with mere talk but rather through strategic thinking, decisions and implementation and therefore wants Mr. Boakye Agyarko to observe that as such and make the utility firm once again a profit making venture.
Mr. Boakye Agyarko, according to a Daily Guide report dated Monday, May 15, 2017, is incensed at the growing debt stock of the ECG which appears to be worsening by the day due to its faulty metering system and avoidable employee recklessness.
Speaking to a group of journalists and officials of the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) after the inauguration of a 7-member ECG PSP Stakeholders’ Committee in Accra, the minister said he was shocked that ECG has GH¢130 million a week in receivable, but only collects GH¢50 million. “What happens to the balance? You look at their inventory and they have 20 years’ supply of spares. You have locked up that money in spares that would be obsolete,” he was quoted as saying by Daily Guide.
His comments attracted a response from the Public Utilities Workers Union (PUWU) who insisted that the blame should be placed at the doorsteps of the government.
According to PUWU, if the government stops its political directives to the ECG and allows it to go after public institutions that are heavily indebted to the utility firm, there will be much improvement in the operations of ECG.
“It is strange for the Minister to attribute this accumulation of debt to the reckless acts or behavior of ECG employees. If there is any debt accumulation, then it is the direct action of government for non-payment of MMDA bills, and not any inaction on the part of ECG employees. There have been several instances where efforts to collect amounts owing from MMDAs have been frustrated and sometimes interfered by political pressures, such that even organizations that were disconnected were asked to be reconnected by political authorities.”
However, Hon. Ricketts-Hagan commenting further said the challenges confronting the ECG is not about balance sheet but solutions that will make the state firm more viable.
“What I am saying is that the NPP is now in power. They should solve the problem. The balance sheet issues that the Minister is talking about are all known. He is not the one to come and tell us balance sheet and all these things. We know the situation and we have really done the work that needs to be done about the ECG. We just need the solution and they must get on with it. They cannot talk and talk and talk for the next four years. The Minister should do more in fixing the ECG than the talking that he is doing,” he noted.