General News of Saturday, 11 June 2016
The Government of Ghana has been unfair to state power distributor Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has said, explaining that the country cannot expect the company to perform efficiently when officialdom has refused to pay close to GHS1billion it owes the utility firm for power consumption.
There are plans to privatise ECG under a concession arrangement for 25 years. President John Mahama recently made a case for the privatisation, saying ECG has been inefficient under the current system and there was a need for private hands to come on board to “fix it”.
Speaking on Friday June 10 about the privatisation move and ECG’s performance as a company, the running mate to New Patriotic Party flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo, said: “I think if you look at the energy sector as a whole, we have significant challenges. The issue for me is how you get ECG more efficient. There are governance issues in terms of corporate accountability and so on that you can look at, but fundamentally, what is government doing about the debt it owes to ECG?
“Would ECG be an efficient company necessarily if it was being run properly and if the finances were in place?
“I think that, in a way, we’ve been a little unfair to ECG because you say that: ‘We are not going to pay you what we owe you and you are in trouble and because you are in trouble, we’ll sell you. I don’t think it’s fair. …If you want to privatise regardless, you can make the case for it, but you cannot say it’s because ECG is inefficient and it’s inefficient because we are not paying them what we should pay”, Dr Bawumia told Bernard Avle on Accra-based Citi FM in an interview.
Through the second Millennium Challenge Compact under the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA), the Government of Ghana reached an agreement with the U.S. Government for a $500-million facility to revamp ECG. The agreement requires that a private company manage the power provider.
The private firm will operate and manage ECG for the agreed period and hand it back to the government of Ghana. Forty-five companies are already bidding for the management of the state power company.