ENERGY SECTOR DISTORTIONS – PRESIDENT AKUFO-ADDO MUST RECONNECT WITH TRUTH AND REALITY
I have read with dismay a publication attributed to the President of Ghana, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in which the president is reported to have made statement amongst others to the effect that he’s clearing Mahama’s $2.4 billion legacy debts, the President further alleges that: “today, we are exporting energy to Burkina Faso, we will begin, again, to Togo.”
President Akufo-Addo is also reported to have said he resolved “dumsor” inherited from President Mahama.
By all standards, the President is once again engaging in deliberate misinformation and peddling falsehood for petty political parochial interest.
Firstly, it is important to point out that Ghana has been exporting electricity to its neighbours for decades.
Available records from the Energy Commission confirms that Ghana exported 530MW in 2013, 522MW in 2014, 587MW in 2015, and 187MW in 2016.
On the specific issue of exporting power to Burkina Faso, it ought to be understood that 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 the “Inter-Zonal Transmission Hub Project Agreement with the World Bank and other partners, which became effective on 14th December, 2012.
The objective of the project was to reduce the cost of electricity and 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 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 kilometers of the 330kV transmission line and the extension of the existing 161 KV sub-station in Bolgatanga to accommodate the line.
The project, which was funded by the World Bank, French Development Agency, European Investment Bank, Burkina Faso’s National Electricity Company (SONABEL) and GRIDCo from Ghana 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 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 in the most unstatesmanly kind.
Even more disturbing is the fact that the project has currently stalled due to the current precarious financial status of GRIDCo. The financials of GRIDCo has deteriorated so much in recent years that AFD, the financier of this project has suspended the release of funds for the project.
Contrary to the utterly false claim by Mr. President that he ended what has become known as Dumsor, the evidence points to the fact that load shedding (DUMSOR) was officially declared over by the end of December 2015.
As is generally well acknowledged, 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 system is contemptous and unbecoming of the first gentleman of our nation.
The Ministry of Energy and Petroleum under President John Mahama undertook many 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.
President Akufo-Addo knows he indeed inherited a resilient, reliable and vibrant energy infrastructure including the Energy Sector Levy Account which is generating over 3.5 billion Cedis annually.
Rather than ingloriously churning out fabricated and concocted stories, the President should focus his energy on dealing with the power crisis his administration has plunged the nation into.
The current load shedding is as a result of mismanagement and incompetence by a Government that lacks the knowledge and sincerity in managing the sector.
Energy Sector Debt
The President’s claim that he is paying Mahama’s US$2.4bn can only be coming from a desperate man latching onto straws. If the President wants to appraise himself with the debt situation in the energy sector, he can read Page 17 of the ESLA PLC prospectus prepared by the Finance Minister on the actual energy sector total debt.
The ESLA prospectus clearly reveals that the accumulated debt which transcends the Mahama administration was lower than US$2 billion dollars and only rose to US$2.1Billion by 30th August, 2018 under this government.
Today, as a result of former President Mahama’s long term vision, this government inherited an Energy Sector Levy Account which generates over GHC3.5 Billion yearly, a levy NPP strongly opposed in opposition. Surprisingly, the revenues accrued from this levy is being misapplied, thereby rendering the Energy sector financially bankrupt.
Under this government and the watch of the President, the Energy sector is accumulating fresh debt of over US$1 billion per annum. This debt keeps compounding and is actually grounding the Energy Sector SOES by the day.
Its therefore not surprising that the action of the President has returned the country to the dreaded days of dumsor.
Ghana with an installed Capacity of almost twice its peak demand is currently shedding over 300MW of electricity with no end in sight.
Without a scintilla of doubt, President Akuffo-Addo’s performance in the energy sector has been rather abysmal, to say the least.
President Akufo-Addo has succeeded in eroding all the gains former President Mahama achieved and therefore the last thing Ghanaians will tolerate is a President who disingenuously ignores the sordid reality and engages in deplorable acts of self adulation.
John Abdulai Jinapor
Former Deputy Minister of Energy and Petroleum