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General News of Friday, 22 November 2019

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Minority warns gov't against plunging country into dumsor over GRIDCo debt

A Ranking Member on Parliament’s Energy and Mines Committee, Adam Mutawakilu, has urged the government to release a substantial amount of money to settle debts owed the Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo) to curb a possible intermittent power cuts, also called dumsor.

In an interview with Joy News’ Wilson Parker, the Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) legislator said the government has failed to address concerns of GRIDCo in numerous petitions.

“Their financial positions are so poor so they are unable to do the regular maintenance of their transmission lines and towers,” he sought to explain the current administration’s indebtedness to the power company.

“Nana Akufo-Addo is a disappointing President, I expected him not to deceive the workers of GRIDCo by saying he will make sure the Finance Minister will release GHS250 million to them,” the Minority Spokesperson on Mines and Energy told Joy News.

GRIDCo leadership and its senior staff on Thursday threatened industrial action to drum home their displeasure over how they are being treated.

They are also demanding payments of various sums of money that the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), VALCO, and NEDCo owe GRIDCo.

The debts they are demanding are the $32, 576,974.05 owed them by VALCO as at September 30, 2019; GHS607 million owed by ECG of March 1, 2019; GHS177 million owed them by NEDCo as at September 30, 2019 and the GHS94, 204,903.17 which is PDS debt which the ECG collected during the suspension of PDS.

Chairman of the Senior Staff Association of GRIDCo, Raphael Kornor, said staff have reached their wit's end and cannot continue to sacrifice any longer.

Mr Mutawakilu urged the government to ensure that Ministries, Department, and Agencies (MDAs) pay the Electricity Company Ghana to enable the power distribution company to in turn pay GRIDCo.

He also called for the immediate dissolution of the ECG board describing them as “highly incompetent.”

“They must restructure it to ensure that their promptness and responses to issue are very timely,” he said.

The Minority legislator also alleged that the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, was usurping the powers of the Energy Minister.

“The Minister of Energy has no control over the agencies. It’s the Finance Minister. Today, when the IPP [Independent Power Producers] have issues they do not go to the Energy Minister, they go to the Minister of Finance,” he explained.

“The Minister of Energy is now living dead,” he jabbed.