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General News of Monday, 11 February 2013

Source: peacefmonline

Pratt: Blame gov't departments and agencies for Load-Shedding

Managing Editor of The Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt, believes aside outmoded equipment, losses incurred in transporting and distributing electricity efficiently, the current power rationing by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) can also be attributed to government agencies and departments owing the utility provider whooping sums of monies.

According to Kwesi Pratt who was speaking on Peace FM, government agencies and departments owe the ECG nearly two hundred and thirty million cedis (230million).

“ECG must tell us the truth. Government departments and agencies owe ECG an amount of two hundred and thirty million (230million) new Ghana cedis. Why must Government agencies and departments owe ECG such an amount of money?” he queried.

“If you look closely at their budgets, they (Government and Agencies) allocate utilities bills in their budgets and government pays for it. So I don’t know why they refuse to pay the amount of money they owe ECG. Where does the money given to them go to? This is the case of misapplication of funds,” he bemoaned.

The seasoned journalist stressed that until both the ECG and VRA open up to Ghanaians about the real situation on the ground, the country will continue to experience load-shedding.

“ECG doesn’t have the financial resources to operate. They (ECG) even don’t have money to import crude oil for the Volta River Authority (VRA) to operate. We will continue to experience this power rationing if both ECG and VRA do not tell us the truth and continue to allocate blame on the West Africa Gas Pipe Line,” he said.

The country is experiencing a shortfall in power production and distribution as a result of a cut in supply of gas from WAPCo.

The pipeline, according to WAPCo, had experienced a loss of pressure around the Lome, Togo segment after it was damaged by the anchor of an unidentified vessel.

Mr Pratt however believes the supply of power to the Volta Aluminum Company Limited (VALCO), despite its mounting debts is a contributory factor.

"VALCO cannot even pay their debt yet government wants to supply them with electricity. They cannot afford their own production so why must the government supply them with electricity. What is wrong with us?" he asked.

According to Mr. Pratt, due to the colossal amount of money which is supposed to be paid to the ECG by these MDA’s and VALCO, it has led to the inability of the ECG to operate efficiently.

"They keep giving us false hopes of power supply....a report by the World Bank states that Ghana’s crude oil importation debt has risen to 555 million dollars and this is being pushed on Ghanaians through tariffs increment....the consumers are being asked to pay for the inefficiencies of government agencies," Mr Pratt said.

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