Politics of Thursday, 8 November 2012
The main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) seeks to use its commitment to provide stable and reliable energy supply to consumers as an electoral massage to win the December 2012 polls.
The NPP manifesto for election 2012: “Transforming lives, Transforming Ghana,” made available to the Ghana News Agency indicates that the party seeks to complete the power generation expansion programme started under the previous NPP era to drive industrialization.
The NPP also promises to tackle what it describes as “the problems of neglect and mismanagement of Ghana’s energy resources” to ensure that there is adequate energy to drive business productivity and development and also meet the needs of domestic users for cooking, lighting and other uses.
According to the manifesto, under the leadership of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the next NPP government will work with the private sector to increase output, and re-open negotiations with interested partners to develop and complete the mini-hydro power projects such as Pwalugu, Juale, Ankobra and Tano.
The party also plans to exploit gas resources to increase energy supply, and by the end of 2016 extend rural access of electrification to 90 per cent. In the petroleum sub-sector, the NPP argues that reforms in the governance structure initiated by the previous NPP government led to the discovery of oil in commercial quantities in 2007.
“Our policy on the petroleum sector will be to focus on the continued exploration for more reserves and ensure transparency in the operations of Ghana’s oil fields and outputs”.
According to the manifesto, the party will enact laws that will improve the legal regime for petroleum exploration, production and services and enhance Ghanaian participation in the oil sector.
The NPP will also enter into partnership with the private sector to actively pursue the potential of building another refinery and processing plant in Ghana. It also promises to make the Western Region the hub of the oil and gas industry, by developing services and institutions related to the industry in the region.
The party is also promising to introduce an “Accelerated Oil Capacity Development Programme” which will target training of Ghanaians in high job creating sectors, including fabrications and installations, manufacturing of equipment and construction of oil and gas infrastructure.
On sources of renewable energy, the NPP intends to develop, diversify and ensure sustainability of energy sources; it will therefore reform the governance arrangements in the sector and pursue strategic partnerships that will help to exploit actively Ghana’s renewable energy potential from sources such as solar, wind and biomass.
The NPP however blamed the NDC government for allowing Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC) to trespass into the domains of other agencies such as the Tema Oil refinery.
The party also claimed that under former President John Agyekum Kufuor, the government initiated measures to increase power generation which, according to the party, had been neglected by the current NDC administration to reach a generation capacity of 5000 mw.
According to the NPP, between 2007 and 2008 the then Kufuor administration initiated and contracted major generation projects which would have placed the nation’s power capacity beyond 5000 mw by the end of 2012 instead of the current installed capacity of 2,210 mw.
“While a few of these projects are currently being pursued by the NDC, for example the 400 mw Bui Hydro Dam and 132 mw thermal plant at Takoradi, other initiatives such as the 220 mw Alstom Turbines have been left to rot at Kpone” said the manifesto.
It stated that funding for the implementation of mini-hydro projects have been diverted for non energy projects and active agreements and memoranda of understanding for more thermal as well as waste-to-energy plants had sadly been abandoned by the NDC government.
Meanwhile, a National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) survey on “Election 2012: matters of concern to the Ghanaian voter”, reveals that out of 489 responses received, the highest proportion of 289 (59.1 per cent) said power outages should stop.
A copy of the survey report made available to the GNA indicates that Ghanaians abhor the frequent power outages, which they said was destroying electrical gadgets and also rendering some newly established industries dormant.
They also wanted the government to extend electricity to the rural area, whilst another 143 respondents (29.3 per cent) wanted government to have more subsidies on energy. Twenty-seven other respondents (5.5 per cent) said that there should be uninterrupted gas supply for Ghanaians.
According to the NCCE survey, 17 respondents (3.5 per cent)agreed that oil and gas proceeds should be used to finance the economy.
Respondents mentioned that the rate at which expatriates were infiltrating the oil industry to compete with Ghanaians for jobs was quite alarming.
The survey said an insignificant number of respondents, 2 (0.4 per cent), said the youth should be trained to take up jobs in the oil and gas sector.