General News of Monday, 24 March 2014
Energy and Petroleum Minister, Emmanuel Armah Kofi-Buah says even his mother is angry with the power rationing being endured by Ghanaians.
Mr. Kofi-Buah, who was yanked off to Nigeria to negotiate an increase in the supply of natural gas from that country to power local turbines to generate more power, says Ghanaians are entitled to be frustrated at the situation.
“My mother called me, [she] was very angry. Load shedding, we have to do everything to avoid it and I think when it happens we have to also get the ECG (Electricity Company of Ghana) to manage it better,” he told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show host, Bernard Nasara Saibu in an interview.
The minister was answering questions on steps being taken by government to ameliorate the power crisis.
He dispelled suggestions that the Nigerians were not honouring the terms of the contract to supply gas to Ghana because of unpaid supplies.
“Let me make it very clear…the reason we are in this trouble has nothing to do with any outstanding payments, period! We don’t owe Nigeria at all,” he stated.
He insisted the problems were largely because Nigeria itself now needs the gas and that is compounded by the fact that there is a problem with the pipeline that is supposed to convey the gas to Ghana.
According to him, Ghana is in the quagmire in which it is now as far as the supply of power is concerned because successive governments have negligently failed to make the necessary investments to add to the power generating capacity of the country.
There is exponential increase in demand for electricity without a corresponding increase in power generation, he regretted.
Policy Analyst, Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby, who has in-depth knowledge about the workings of the West Africa Gas Pipeline Project and actually signed the agreement as Chief Executive of the Volta River Authority, said Ghana must assert its rights against Nigeria.
He argued Africa’s most populous nation was flagrantly violating the terms of the contractual agreement it entered into with Ghana.
The conduct of Nigeria on the matter is an act of war, he said.
“The Government of Nigeria, acting in concert with its Nigerian national Petroleum Company (NNPC), and its joint venture partners, Chevron Nigeria and Shell Nigeria, have finally come off the vacillating wall and told the Government and people of Ghana, that the agreement to supply 123 million cu ft gas per day is not worth the paper it was written on,” Dr. Wreko-Brobby said.
Nigeria’s commitment to increase gas supply to Ghana from 30 million to 50 million cubic feet, he believes, is “pathetic capitulation that no more than 50 million cu ft of our contracted supply can be guaranteed.”
“Call me a war monger if you like, but…Ghana must take this Nigerian slap in the face as having bloodied our nose, sabotaged our economy, and tantamount to a declaration of war,” he stressed.
In an article Dr. Wereko-Brobby, popularly called Tarzan, said “Nigeria’s flagrant and unpardonable conduct must not be treated with the customary “Y3mfa mma Nyame” (Leave it to God/Allah/Onyankopon) attitude that we Ghanaians bring to each and every act that sabotages our interest. We must respond vigorously and effectively with actions which protect our economy and national interests, as well as ensuring that the saboteurs do not continue to benefit from their selfish and deliberate breach of treachery.”
“It is time for Ghana to open both eyes, wake up from the West African pipe dream, and plot a realistic course that will take away the gloom of “dum so dum so” and restore perpetual and everlasting light onto every Ghanaian living everywhere, both to create more wealth so we can drink ‘mortuary cold,’” he added.