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Minority's true State of the Nation Address.
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Minority's true State of the Nation Address.

Wed, 11 Mar 2015 Source: Collins, Akwasi

THE POWER SITUATION-Minority's true State of the Nation Address. Full of serious facts. Mahama is simply incompetent. Read this.

Referring to issues afflicting the power sector the President began by quoting Nelson Mandela thus: “the greatest story of living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall”. The simple response to the President is that some falls are avoidable. The President in last year’s address and in reference to the hardships that the power outages had inflicted on industry, commerce, leisure and residences, stated, “we have been there before”. This year in referring to the power crisis, he used the same words “we have been there before”. Ghanaians would have wished to hear the bold declaration, three years into this “adumdum adumdum” saga: “countrymen we are now out of the woods”. The President added, “big businesses and industries are also suffering and threatening to lay off workers”. The fact is, many businesses and industries have already laid off many workers and some have indeed collapsed and yet others are relocating to other countries in the sub-region.

Mr. President, some businesses and residences have been gutted by fire because of power outages; property including houses that have been built with pension money, running into billions of cedis have been lost because of power outages; many people including bread winners for families have lost their lives because of the power crisis. Mr. President, some industries and businesses have already collapsed, increasing the already precarious levels of joblessness. That is the real state of the effect of the power crisis.

In one breadth in his message the President assured the nation, “I, John Dramani Mahama, will fix this energy challenge”. In another he says he will hold the Minister for Power responsible for inability to fix the problem. One hopes the President is not already finding an escape route for himself for non-delivery of his pledge. The buck stops with him.

The President made a very loaded statement in reference to the power crisis in 1983, 1997-98, 2006-2007: He said, “in the past what we have done has been to manage the situation. I do not intend to manage the situation as has been done in the past. I intend to fix it! I owe it to the Ghanaian people. I, John Dramani Mahama, will fix this energy challenge”. To “manage”, could mean ‘to deal with something or handle it successfully or competently’. It could also mean to ‘be able to control, or find enough room, time, etc. for something’. On the other hand, to fix means ‘to mend or repair something’ or to place something firmly somewhere’. So the Presidents’ play on words is an illusion especially when ‘fix’ also means “to arrange (the result of something, e.g. race, trial, etc.) dishonesty”. It also means “to bribe or threaten someone into agreement”, or to ‘thwart, punish or kill someone’. Mr. President, that statement is pregnant with insinuations.

However, since the President was beating his chest in the declaration of “I intend to fix it!” and “I John Dramani Mahama, will fix this energy challenge” it is safe to infer that in the President’s view his predecessors, Jerry John Rawlings, John Agyekum Kufuor and John Evans Atta Mills merely controlled, contained or mitigated the problem but did not decisively and frontally confront it.

RAWLINGS CONTRIBUTION

That is most unkind and uncharitable especially to Rawlings and Kufuor. Following the 1982 – 85 power crisis VRA came up with a researched paper that defined the architecture of sustainable power generation beyond 1985. The rehabilitation of the 30MW Diesel Power Plants at Tema which President Nkrumah had procured in 1961 but which had been lying fallow was done. In January 1998, under President Rawlings the 220MW Aboadze Thermal Power Plant (Takoradi 1 or T1) came on stream. In June 1999 a 110MW Steam Turbine came on board T1 to make it a combined cycle plant that was capable of generating 330 MW. In response to the 1998 – 2000 power crisis the Rawlings regime engaged Aggreko Plc to generate and supply 30MW into the system.

Rawlings government in 1998 meanwhile further expanded the Aboadze Power complex to roll out additional 330MW. This was undertaken by Takoradi International Company (TICo) also referred to as Takoradi 2 or (T2). The Gas Turbines to deliver 220 MW of the total 330MW were completed and commissioned in year 2000. This is a joint venture between VRA and TAQA of Abu Dhabi (UAE). The remaining 110MW steam component is yet to be completed. One could conclude that Rawlings added at least about 580MW to the nation’s power generation and this does not include the emergency power generations. Mr. President, Rawlings was not merely managing or controlling or tinkering with the problem. He had started

Columnist: Collins, Akwasi