Feature Article of Sunday, 4 November 2012
Columnist: Baafi, Alex Bossman
By Alex Bossman Baafi
The ruling national democratic congress (NDC) government has not proved responsible to the plight of the good people of our country as far as the supply of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) popularly as Gas is concerned. Since this government took over the reins of our country, we have not seen reliable and constant supply of gas. We have been plagued with erratic and constant shortage of gas instead, which is why we have been experiencing the current unpleasant power load shedding, or power rationing otherwise referred to as ‘dumsor-dumsor’, that is, on-and-off supply of electricity.
When the President was quizzed during the IEA presidential debate in Accra about the dumsor-dumsor, he exonerated his administration from blame, describing the problem with the dislocation of the West African Gas Pipeline as the “Act of God”. This is not the first time our nation is in crisis because of gas shortage. There have been several times we have had this ugly experience and the government seems not to learn from its past mistakes. A caring government worth its sort will be sensitive to the plight of the ordinary people of our country.
Shortage of gas has brought severe untold hardships on our people. Many small-scale businesses including catering, haircutting, hairdressing and part of commercial transportation have collapsed. Heavy and medium industrial establishment are dying because of non-availability of reliable supply of electricity. The erratic supply of power is thus aggravating the joblessness and hopelessness situation confronting the teaming masses of our people.
The fact of the matter is that, apart from the electricity generated through dam or hydro (Akosombo), a substantial part of our energy-mix comes from Thermal Power Plants powered by gas or diesel but it is cheaper when power is generated with gas than diesel. Experts believe that it is the cheapest source of energy apart from hydro. It for this reason that the Ministry of Energy and for that matter the government should have made it a priority to make gas available because private sector investment in the energy sector to generate power with thermal plants have gone up.
As a concerned citizen of our country, I have observed with disappointment that even the ongoing load-shedding programme is not being managed as published by the ECG and GRIDco in newspapers making planning very difficult for consumers. The dumsor-dumsor has also culminated in many consumers losing their electrical appliances every now and then. Who cares?
What may prove very expensive for us as a nation is that, the on-and-off supply of power can impact negatively on our elections. For example, during the Election Day, those polling stations that may experience delays due to certain constraints can face counting and collating problems when the process runs into darkness for lack of power. The Electoral Commission may need adequate power for some of its machines in certain areas of our country on Election Day as well.
My appeal therefore to the government is that, she must fall on our reserves or even borrow to buy adequate gas, at least, on the election day, December 7, so that there will be power to guarantee incident free elections throughout the country in the interest of peace. Many well-meaning people of our country believe that enough is enough with dumsor-dumsor. The government must live up to expectation by putting the welfare of the people above the ongoing profligate expenditure on flashy gargantuan bill boards across the country for elections because as they put it ‘people matter’.