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General News of Thursday, 28 September 2017

Source: Prime News Ghana

NPP was never against ECG privatisation - Deputy Energy Minister

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Deputy Minister of Energy in charge of Petroleum, William Owuraku Aidoo has rejected claims that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) while in opposition was against the privatisation of the Electricity Company of Ghana.

According to him, the NPP believes in private sector participation in governance and doubts any member of the party spoke against such plans when they were in opposition.

"We are basically a pro-business party. We are a party which believes in the private sector so when the private sector is coming in....we are all for it", he said on an Accra-based FM station.

He said governments should be able to shed some of its responsibilities to the private sector, adding that business should be left to business people so that government can concentrate on other equally important matters.

Plans are underway to place the power company in the hands of the private sector through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) agreement which is expected to pump a billion dollars into the company which is considered inefficient and financially incapable of standing on its own.

The move to privatise the company was met with fierce resistance by stakeholders which generated into series of protests. A member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Saka Salia, consequently filed a suit against the Millennium Development Authority (MIDA), the Public Utilities Regulatory PURC and Energy Commission over what he described as improper transaction process.

According to him, MIDA circulated a forged draft tariff methodology and electricity distribution table to aid the concession process.

Dr Mahamudu Bawumia during NPP's 2016 campaign expressed the view that the ECG cannot be privatised on the basis of inefficiency when the government is not paying its debt.

According to the then running mate, ECG was inefficient because government owed the utility company close to a billion cedis.

However, the deputy Minister believes that efficiency should be the hallmark of a thriving company and as such the investment by the private sector will help ECG achieve that.

He said privatisation was a last resort considering that government cannot meet the minimum capital required: "That is why the government of the day decided to go for the compact".

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