Opinions Sat, 13 Oct 2018

Akufo-Addo misappropriates Mahama’s achievements for himself in London

I feel highly embarrassed by the continuous misappropriating of the achievements of former President John Dramani Mahama, by our President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in a vain effort to glorify himself.

The latest example of this unwholesome behaviour of our dear President as reported in the media was said to have occurred in London in the faraway United Kingdom (UK) or Great Britain (GB), as many others may want to call it, on Monday, the 8th of October, 2018.

The event at which this was said to have occurred was an event organized by the “Financial Times” of the United Kingdom to woo the British Business Community to Ghana as a conducive destination for investment on the African continent.

In listing his achievements within the 20-month period of his tenure, President Akufo-Addo had this to say as reported by Ghana, “I Have Resolved Energy Crisis, Come and Invest In Ghana -- Akufo-Addo To Investors” was the shouting headline.

Ordinarily, that information should have been of great joy to Ghanaians. Instead, it stoked a storm of negative reactions from people familiar with the very recent history and happenings within our power and energy sector particularly during the tenure of President John Dramani Mahama from 2012 to 2016.

Akufo-Addo’s assertions that it was him or his government that solved the debilitating energy problems that bedevilled our country with its near destruction of the economic and social lives of our people can be nothing but a big LIE. Ghanaians do remember too clearly, the steps taken by President Mahama and his government leading to the final resolution of ‘DUMSOR’ in 2015, and this is too fresh in the memories of the majority of Ghanaians for anybody to attempt to steal it for himself.

In this regard, not surprisingly, President Akufo-Addo’s pronouncements got the immediate past Deputy Minister of Power, the Honourable John Abdulai Jinapor, under whose very watch most of the energy sector projects were undertaken, to run to the media with a swift comprehensive rebuttal of the many achievements of the Mahama government which exited office less than two years ago on January 7th, 2017.

This was what the Honourable John Jinapor had to say in a rejoinder published in the online news portal “peacefmonline” on 9th October 2018. It read;

“John Jinapor Calls Out Prez Akufo-Addo For Claiming NDC Achievements” “Former Deputy Minister of Energy and Petroleum, John Abdulai Jinapor is accusing President Akufo-Addo of appropriating projects of the erstwhile NDC administration and presenting them as his achievements.

According to John Jinapor, the president has resorted to this strategy especially in the energy sector because his administration has failed to achieve anything substantial in the almost two years in office.

In a statement he issued Tuesday, the Yapei/Kusawgu constituency Member of Parliament consequently vowed not to allow the president to perpetuate the strategy.

Among examples he cites to buttress his accusation, John Jinapor says the president only about three weeks ago “re-commissioned a 20-megawatt solar plant in the Gomoa West Area of the Central Region, which was completed and commissioned more than two years ago under the Mahama administration.”

Again, he says the president only last week at a ceremony to inaugurate a 225KV transmission line which was started President John Mahama, claimed that it is his government that has stabilised power supply in the country and started exporting power, when the fact is that Ghana has been exporting electricity to its neighbours including Cote D’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Togo for decades.

Below is John Jinapor’s statement in full.

Blatant Falsehoods by President Akufo-Addo on the Energy Sector

I have noted with concern the deliberate and orchestrated attempt by President Akufo-Addo to continue to appropriate projects and achievements of the erstwhile NDC administration especially in the energy sector and present them as his achievements.

It is obvious the Nana Akufo-Addo administration, after failing to achieve anything substantial in the almost two years of the administration, has resorted to this strategy, which will surely not be allowed to continue.

About three weeks ago, the President re-commissioned a 20-megawatt solar plant in the Gomoa West Area of the Central Region, which was completed and commissioned more than two years ago under the Mahama administration.

Only last week, before he flew out again on another non-beneficial trip to London, Nana Addo at a ceremony to inaugurate a 225KV transmission line, started during the tenure of President John Dramani Mahama, chose to make very unfortunate and unfounded statements specifically on the export of energy from Ghana. He actually claimed that it is his Government that has stabilised power supply in the country and started exporting power.

Facts First, it is important to point that Ghana has been exporting electricity to its neighbours including Cote D’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Togo for decades.

Upon assumption of office in 2009, the NDC Administration commissioned the development of a long-term energy policy to position Ghana as a self-sufficient nation in power production and to ensure that the nation developed its export potentials as follows: Burkina Faso 150MW by 2019; Mali 150MW by 2021; Togo and Benin 200MW by 2020.

To achieve this target, the NDC Government embarked on an aggressive programme to boost the power generation capacity, improve the transmission network, enhance the supply situation and resolve fuel supply challenges with the overall objective of ensuring that Ghana enjoyed reliable, adequate and sustainable supply of power for domestic consumption and to export the excess capacity generated.

Consequently, a robust programme of increasing thermal power generation was implemented by the NDC. This resulted in the doubling of the installed capacity of 1,935.00MW, inherited in 2008, to 4,132.60MW by end of 2016.

The Ministry of Energy and Petroleum undertook key projects such as the 450MW Karpowership, 200MW Kpone Thermal Power Project (KTPP), 360MW Asogli Project; 20 MW BXC Solar Project; 250MW Ameri Project, 250MW AKSA 250, 50MW Trojan Project amongst others.

The evidence points to the fact that load shedding (DUMSOR) was officially ended by the end of December 2015, further to this, load shedding was never declared in the whole of year 2016 having achieved adequate thermal generation. The claim by President Akufo-Addo that he inherited an erratic power supply is therefore false and a blatant lie.

On the specific issue of exporting power to Burkina Faso, to ensure that we develop a resilient and efficient transmission system with the potential of exporting additional power to neighbouring countries, the Mills/ Mahama Administration signed an agreement (known as the “Inter-Zonal Transmission Hub Project”) with the World Bank and other partners, which became effective on 14th December, 2012. The development objective of the project was to reduce the cost of electricity and improve security of electricity supply to Burkina Faso, while increasing Ghana’s electricity export capacity generally.

The project involved the construction of approximately 200-kilometre-long power evacuation infrastructure comprising steel lattice towers, insulators and conductors to transmit up to 225 kilo volts of electric power. Primarily, the line was expected to evacuate electrical energy supply generated in Ghana directly to Burkina Faso. The Ghana section of the project covers the construction of approximately 39.3 kilometres of the 225kV transmission line and the extension of the existing 161 kV sub-station in Bolgatanga to accommodate the line.

The Project also included the construction of a 330KV (kilovolt) sub-station at the Aboadze Thermal Plant in the Western Region to help carry bulk electricity power at a much higher voltage from the enclave in Takoradi through Cape Coast, Winneba and then to Accra.

The project, which was funded by the World Bank, French Development Agency, European Investment Bank, Burkina Faso’s National Electricity Company (SONABEL) and GRIDCo, with an amount of €81.1million, was expected to be completed by end of September 2017.

It, therefore, comes as a surprise that instead of President Akufo-Addo acknowledging and commending his predecessor for implementing this noble project, the President rather used the occasion to cast aspersions and make false claims about the energy sector.

It is, in fact, on record that in June 2016, six months after the official end of the load shedding programme, President Mahama speaking at the maiden congregation of the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) announced that with the energy crisis over, the country will be made a major power exporter.

“A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to cut sod for the commencement of an onshore receiving facility for Sankofa gas. It is estimated at 1.5 trillion cubic feet. It is capable of supplying Ghana with 1000 megawatts of power for the next 20 years. Indeed, my vision is to make Ghana a net exporter of Power when the West Africa Regional electricity market becomes operational sometime next year” he stated.

It is important to place on record that the NDC-led administration handed over a robust, resilient and sustainable energy supply system to the NPP administration. The attempt by the President and his Government to twist the facts on the energy sector will surely fail, as the facts do not support their narrative.

It is also instructive to note that through interventions by the NDC Government, access to electricity was increased from 54% in 2008 to about 82% by the end of 2016. This has culminated in Ghana being celebrated as the country with one of the highest rates of access to electricity in Sub Saharan Africa, second only to South Africa.

The Mahama administration did not only fix the power generation challenge as promised by then President Mahama, it also took comprehensive steps to deal with erratic fuel supply by constructing the Atuabo Gas processing plant as well as instituting the Energy Sector Levies Act (ESLA) to address the legacy debt, which was choking the energy sector SOEs.

The Atuabo Gas processing plant currently supplies more that 75% of the total gas requirement of the thermal plants in Ghana thereby contributing significantly to reducing the cost of fuel and also improving power supply generally.

Having failed to abolish the Energy Sector Levies, after describing the levies as obnoxious and promising to abolish same whilst in opposition, the least President Akufo-Addo can do is to remain silent and not resort to blatant falsehoods to cover up the embarrassing non-performance of his clueless and visionless Government”.

John Abdulai Jinapor Former Deputy Minister of Power

The above was the cogent facts as rendered by the former Deputy Minister of Power, John Abdulai Jinapor who was in the ‘thick of affairs’ at the ministry that supervised the plethora of projects in the power sector that led to the banishment of the erratic electricity situation in our country, in 2015.

President John Dramani Mahama ’s efforts that ended ‘DUMSOR’ are beyond mention and measure and that glory should not be allowed to be stolen by his successor, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on the altar of lies and deceit.

One of the reasons which led to the power supply difficulties that afflicted the country was finances of the public sector energy utilities, including the Volta River Authority(VRA), the Electricity Company of Ghana( ECG), the Ghana Grid Company(GRA), the Northern Electricity Distribution Company( NEDCO), a number of Banks, and some of the private sector Independent Power Producers(IPPs). They were all mired in a huge debt totalling over GHC16.10 billion or US$3.5 billion at the time. As a result, Banks were no longer willing or able to extend credit to the energy sector utilities to procure fuel and their essential needs for their operations. Ghana Commercial Bank the lead state bank that was particularly exposed to the energy sector utility companies’ indebtedness had a lot of difficulties because of its overexposure.

President John Mahama took the bull by the horn when in 2015 he enacted the Energy Sector Levies Act (ESLA) which became operational in 2016. That tax measure which was ferociously attacked and opposed by Mr Akufo-Addo saying ESLA had made the rate of electricity more expensive than rent, promising to immediately scrap it as soon as he was elected has become the main source of funds for his government currently. Mr Akufo-Addo has failed in his promise to abolish the ESLA.

The World Bank in supporting the Sankofa-GyeNyame oil and gas project led by the Italian Oil giant ENI SPA, with partners GNPC and VITOL, with a US$700million guarantee, estimated that the daily gas production of 180/190mmscf of gas to be produced from the project would facilitate thermal electricity generation of 1,100MW every single day for 20years The gas to be produced would replace the importation of 120million barrels of light crude oil used for firing the country's thermal plants yearly. Sankofa-GyeNyame has since started delivering gas for Ghana's thermal electricity generation since 2018.

These developments have enabled the Akufo-Addo government to consider lowering electricity tariffs to Ghanaian companies and domestic consumers in 2018.

It is absolutely difficult to fathom how and why President Akufo-Addo would want to so blatantly claim for himself the glory for the country's achievements in the energy sector under President John Dramani Mahama, when it is as clear as the light of day, that all those achievements Mr. AKUFO-ADDO was claiming for himself and his government were not and cannot be his or theirs. This is perhaps the first time Ghanaians are witnessing this kind of politics of “thievery” in which politicians of the party in government are blatantly stealing the achievements of their predecessors, in a broad day robbery, making them their own.

This attitude cannot be excused, as it is not a one-off incident. On numerous other occasions, President AKUFO-ADDO has been caught “red-handed” in similar acts. For example, much earlier in 2017, he attempted a similar action during the commissioning of the WA Water project in the Upper West Region.

That was followed up the with the commencement recommissioning of the Kumasi Airport expansion second phase and the Takoradi Harbour expansion projects. Those two projects are Mahama era projects which were duly commissioned and the projects were ongoing before changes in government occurred. Yet Mr. Akufo-Addo found the opportunity to re-commission them in order to put his name on them as those of himself and his government.

On other occasions, when Mr Akufo-Addo found out that projects to which he had been invited to commission were already completed and his name could not fit in as the one who initiated it, he simply refused to commission them. Two examples would suffice. The magnificent Terminal three (T3) project which has completely transformed Ghana’s only International Airport, the Kotoka International Airport, had been ready for commissioning long ago in early 2018, but the President refused to commission it with the facility remaining fallow for a long time until October 2nd when it was scheduled to be commissioned by the President with the participation of the Emirates Airline of the United Arab Emirates.

A day or two before the internationally announced date for the function, President AKUFO-ADDO caused the indefinite postponement of the commissioning, resulting in huge embarrassment to his Minister of Aviation and the generality of Ghanaians in the process.

As for the huge ultra-modern six hundred bed the University of Ghana Hospital, he simply refused to commission it to date. The long delay in commissioning the facility led to a third-year pharmacy student of the University of Ghana to stage a solo demonstration at a public function at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital involving the First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo. The incident aroused public opprobrium and led the Ministry of Health promising to open the hospital for public use. Till date, the facility has remained in disuse.

Many projects have remained not commissioned and not in use simply because the President could not claim them for his glory. This blatant daylight robbery of Mahama’s projects by Akufo-Addo for his GLORY must stop once and for all, for this country cannot and must NOT condone a “thieving” President.
Columnist: Eric Ametor-Quarmyne