General News of Tuesday, 5 March 2013
Ghana’s 2013 budget gave no immediate solutions to the country’s current water and power problems.
Work on the Bui Dam is almost complete, according to the statement, but the project will not provide the 400MW of promised electricity until the end of 2013.
Seth Terkper, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, was reading his first budget statement on behalf of President John Dramani Mahama today in parliament.
The budget gives a review of the last year’s expenditure and revenue by government and its financial projections for the next year.
Ahead of the budget, groups including civil society organisations, employers and labour unions called on the government to address water and power problems. The bodies, which include the Ghana Employers Association (GEA) and IMANI Ghana, said the power and water supply coupled with high interest rates were harming businesses.
In the power sector, the budget stated that nine substations – New Tema, Akwatia, Achimota, Asanwinso,Takoradi, Techiman, Kumasi, Winneba and Akosombo substations – had been upgraded in the last year and were in operation but in spite of this the nation is still suffering from a shortfall in energy supply which is not likely to be resolved until middle to end of 2013.
Mr Terkper said that the government was trying to increase use of renewable energy from 0.01 to 10 per cent by 2020 but this is a long-term measure. He said 50 percent of the 752 off-grid solar systems which will provide power to remote government offices have also been completed as well as construction of a 161/34.5kV power substation at Buipe to serve a new cement factory, the Buipe township and surrounding areas.
Construction of five primary substations for the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) in Accra and Tema under the Ghana Energy Development Project and various 33kV and 11kV feeders required to interconnect the five new primary substations into the grid have also been completed and commissioned.
Mr Terkper said work to expand water supply in Kumasi is 90 percent complete while the Mampong water project is still ongoing. He said work on the booster station and reservoir at Dodowa under the Kpong Water Supply Expansion project has been “substantial” while works on the treatment plant at Junior Staff Quarters had been completed. Half of the 73km transmission pipelines have been laid while work on the plant itself is said to be 45 per cent complete but no completion date was given.
The country has been suffering from intensified power outages and water shortages since last year.