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Gov’t mismanagement, unnecessary political interference causing Dumsor…Minority

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The Minority in Parliament has stated emphatically that mismanagement and unnecessary political interference by the Akufo-Addo’s government in the management of the energy sector is the result of the current load shedding (Dumsor) being inflicted on Ghanaians.

According to the Minority in Parliament, when the nation  faced with a similar challenge under the NDC, the Mahama Government was candid with Ghanaians and proceeded to implement pragmatic policies to comprehensively address the challenge and subsequently handed over a resilient and robust energy sector to President Akufo-Addo.

Addressing the press today, the Ranking Member, Mines, and Energy Committee. Hon John Abdulai Jinapor said, Instead of conceding on their shortcomings and being honest with Ghanaians, this Government has adopted political chicanery, denial, and misinformation as a cardinal tool while the ordinary Ghanaian is made to bear the brunt of these avoidable power outages.

According to the  Member of Parliament (MP) Yapei-Kusawgu constituency Hon John Abdulai Jinapor, the epileptic Power situation in many parts of the country needs s to be addressed and addressed urgently.

“The Energy sector players must be proactive and inform (Publish a schedule)Velectricity consumers who will be affected by these outages in advance so that affected customers can take remedial steps to mitigate the effect of succh outages” Hon Jinapor said.

“Government must cut down on wasteful expenditure and Inject the much-needed capital into the power sector especially GRIDCo to make up for the impaired cash flow of these utilities. Government must desist from political interference in the management of the Energy sector. Consequently, Government must refrain from engaging in political appointments especially within middle management levels when vacancies are declared”

Below is the full statement

MINORITY IN PARLIAMENT’S STATEMENT ON THE FREQUENT
POWER OUTAGES (DUMSOR) UNDER THE AKUFO-ADDO LED
GOVERNMENT
Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen of the press.
We welcome you to this Press Conference by the NDC Caucus in Parliament,
and we wish to begin by expressing our gratitude for your continuous support in
the professional discharge of your national duties as the fourth estate of the
realm.
The NDC Minority Caucus has called for this media engagement due to the
recent unreliable supply of power popularly known as Dumsor which appears to
be worsening despite several assurances from government officials and
managers of the power sector.
Since the beginning of 2021, many parts of the country have consistently been
plunged into a state of darkness often without prior notice to the
consuming unfortunately, the situation keeps worsening by the day.
While most Ghanaians have been witnessing intermittent power outages, others
have been experiencing low current and occasional high voltages leading to
damage of their electrical gadgets and valuable assets in some cases.
The impact of yet another Energy crisis can have dire consequences on the
already struggling debt ridden, Covid 19 economy under President AkufoAddo.
Today not only are we witnessing unreliable supply of power, the obnoxious
double track system has been exported to the Power sector under this
Government.

It should be noted that since the beginning of the year, GRIDCo alone has given
six different reasons for the major national outages aside the intermittent
localised blackouts, with the most ridiculous reason being attributed to trees
falling on high tension transmission lines.
It is important to note that GRIDCO has strict maintenance culture of clearing
bushes/shrubs under their lines so, the question is since when did these shrubs
grow into trees?

Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, it is obvious there is something more serious
happening within Ghana’s energy sector beyond the unconvincing excuses and
blame game by managers of the sector
For instance, a couple days ago, soon after the Minister of Energy, Hon.
Mathew Opoku Prempeh attributed the current power outages to the inability of
the Bui Power Authority to generate power, the Chief Executive of Bui Power
Authority publicly denied the Ministers claim and proceeded further to make
the shocking revelation that the Minister was misled by GRIDCO – outrageous.
More recently, the Union of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG)
embarked on an industrial action demanding the removal of their Managing
Director sighting incompetence, duplicity and a total lack of understanding of
the power distribution company’s role.
As if that was not enough, the ECG, GRIDCO and the Hon. Minster has been
providing conflicting timelines on when this debilitating power crisis will be
resolved.
What is even more disturbing is despite confirmation from GRIDCo a couple of
weeks ago that the country will continue to experience these power outages into
the foreseeable future for which reason they promised to publish a load
management schedule, the anticipated schedule has since been put on hold due
to political pressure from the executive.
It is a well-known fact especially among energy sector players that the current
outages in the country is due to financial challenges and not because of
technical challenges as being claimed by GRIDCo and Government officials.
This is because the transmission lines and transformers are congested due to
under investment and lack of regular maintenance arising from the poor
financial health of the energy sector SOEs.
Indeed, it will be recalled that in March 2018, the current CEO of GRIDCo
cautioned that the Country was likely to experience major power supply
challenges (http://www.faapa.info/blog/gridco-losing-revenue-due-to-tariffreduction-in-electricity), this was after President Akufo-Addo took a populist
but uninformed decision to usurp the authority of the PURC by slashing the
revenue flows of GRIDCo and other utility agencies.
Unfortunately, this caution fell on deaf ears. It is therefore not surprising that
electricity consumers (Ghanaians) find themselves in this difficult but avoidable
situation of Dumsor.
Most of the Energy sectors SOEs have continued to witness worsening financial
positions since the assumption of office by President Akufo-Addo, despite his
administration receiving over 12 billion cedis in ESLA revenues and almost 20
billion in petroleum revenues over the past 4 years.
The ECG which recorded a profit of over 500 million cedis under President
Mahama in 2016 has posted cumulative losses of over 4 billion cedis since the
2017 financial year.
The GRIDCo which also posted profits in 2016 has equally taken a turn for the
worst with total comprehensive loss of over 600 million cedis as captured in
their 2018 financial Statement. Due to the worsening financial position of
GRIDCo, Agence Française de Développement has had to withhold funding for
a major upgrade of the National transmission line for over 2 years culminating
in congestion of the GRID.
This particular line would have enabled Ghana to export additional power to
Burkina Faso
Even more disturbing is the fact that the Energy Commission which is the
technical regulator of the sector has seen its budget slashed by more than half on
account of the Capping and Realignment Act rendering the commission
ineffective.
According to the 2019 PIAC report, of the US$334,636,806.22 of raw Gas
supplied by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to Ghana Gas
(GNGC), no payment was received, largely on account of VRA’s inability to
pay GNGC for the lean gas supplied bringing the total indebtedness of GNGC
to GNPC in respect of lean gas supplies to US$668,118,346.04.
From the forgoing it is obvious the current load shedding (Dumsor) being
inflicted on Ghanaians is as a result of mismanagement and unnecessary
political interference by the Akufo-Addo Government in the management of the
Energy sector.
It will be recalled that when the nation was faced with a similar challenge
under the NDC, the Mahama Government was candid with Ghanaians and
proceeded to implement pragmatic policies to comprehensively address the
challenge and subsequently handed over a resilient and robust energy sector to
President Akufo-Addo.
Note that President Mahama is on record to have also bequeathed over 230
million cedis in the ESLA account to President Akufo-Addo in 2017.
It is important to note that under the previous NDC Government we initiated
several projects to strengthen systems reliability. Some key projects that were
implemented include:
-The 330kv line from Aboadze to Accra which was constructed under the
NDC.
-The Aboadze Prestea Kumasi 330Kv is another one initiated by the NDC
government.
-We also constructed the Accra Aflao 330KV transmission line.
-We should not also forget the 330kv export line to Burkina Faso terminating
into Burkina’s 225kv line.
Also, under the NDC government, the Ghanaian State through GRIDCo
implemented the Substation Reliability Project where a number of GRIDCo
substations were upgraded with higher capacity assets. The Tema Accra Fourth
Bulk Supply Point was initiated by the State through GRIDCo under the NDC
government.
Indeed the Pokuasi and Mallam Bulk Supply Points which is currently under
construction is the product of the NDC Government through the MCC Compact
2.
But for the mismanagement of the ECG Concession by this Government which
resulted in the PDS scandal, Ghana wouldn’t have lost the $190 million dollars
meant for improving the distribution sector.
Instead of conceding on their shortcomings and being honest with Ghanaians,
this Government has adopted political chicanery, denial and misinformation as a
cardinal tool while the ordinary Ghanaian is made to bear the brunt of these
avoidable power outages.
The epileptic Power situation in many parts of the country needs s to be
addressed and addressed urgently.
The minority in Parliament taking cognisance of the current erratic and
unreliable power supply coupled with the lack of sincerity on the part of
Government officials and handlers of the power sector, the Minority in
furtherance to our commitment towards ensuring reliable and uninterrupted
supply of power proposes the following 10 point recommendations for
implementation;
1. The Energy sector players must be proactive and inform (Publish a schedule)
electricity consumers who will be affected by these outages in advance so that
affected customers can take remedial steps to mitigate the effect of such
outages.
2. Government must cut down on wasteful expenditure and Inject the much
needed capital into the power sector especially GRIDCo to make up for the
impaired cash flow of these utilities.
3. Government must desist from political interference in the management of the
Energy sector. Consequently, Government must refrain from engaging in
political appointments especially within middle management levels when
vacancies are declared.
4. Government and its communicators must desist from engaging in the
propaganda on excess capacity and come out with a formula for absorbing
capacity charges as part of operating cost.
5. Power sector managers must ensure that they pursue Long term planning to
ensure fuel security for generating assets at the least cost possible.
6. Government must allow Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to take the
responsibility for their fuel supply requirements.
7. Immediate steps must be taken to aggressively address ECG’s spiralling
technical and commercial losses currently estimated by its worker unions at
34%

8. The Ministry of Energy must conduct a comprehensive reconciliation of the
total indebtedness of all players including government and its SOEs including
(GNPC, GNGC, VRA, GRIDCo, CENIT, ECG, NEDCo) in a transparent
manner.
9.The Ministry of finance must take steps to utilize the $1 billion sovereign
bond borrowed in 2020 to address the financial challenges of the Energy sector.
10. Government must ensure that Energy sector SOEs Publish details of their
financial statements including details and ageing of their indebtedness as well as
debts owed to them on time.
Finally, Government must come clean on the current power crisis as a matter of
urgency and desist from engaging in blame games. Shifting blame and
providing conflicting information only goes to exacerbate the crisis which is
threatening lives and businesses across the country.
Thank you.
John Abdulai Jinapor (MP)
Ranking Member, Mines and Energy Committee.


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