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General News of Thursday, 7 May 2015


Nduom: “Big” power crisis “needs clear thinking” to solve

Media reports of an expected US$60 million meant for the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) does not mean the current worsening power crisis will soon be solved, former presidential candidate of the Progressive People’s Party Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom has said.

The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors, recently approved a US$60-million International Development Association (IDA) credit for Ghana to improve the ECG’s financial performance, minimise its commercial losses, and ultimately contribute to increased revenue and cash flow.

The credit provides additional financing to the Ghana Energy Development and Access Project (GEDAP) originally approved by the Bank Group’s Board on July 26, 2007, including US$90 million and an additional US$70 million approved on June 3, 2010.

The GEDAP funds have broadly supported (i) Sector and Institutional Development; (ii) Electricity Distribution Improvement; (iii) Electricity Access and Renewable Energy; (iv) Expanded Capacity for Electricity Distribution Improvement; (v) Revenue Collection Improvement; and (vi) Management and Planning Enhancement.

Most of this new financing will be used to increase the scope and impact of ongoing activities to strengthen ECG’s billing and metering systems to improve its operational efficiency.

Dr Nduom, however has said: “This gives the false impression that the money is here in Ghana and is at hand to be spent,” adding: “Many media practitioners and political party people have rejoiced over this saying that power distribution problems are going away. Not true.”

According to him, “What this says is that the World Bank's Executive Board has APPROVED the facility. A lot of work must be done with the attendant technical, administrative and legislative approvals before the money can be DISBURSED to ECG. ECG needs close to $1 billion to improve and renew its power distribution system PLUS an injection of significant management expertise. This money when it comes will help. But we must not be in a hurry to declare the power problem solved.”

“Let's face it. We must know this power problem for what it is. It is big and needs clear thinking, long term solutions and a healthy dose of the truth. We must have a productive conversation on what we should do while we work on agreeing and implementing a lasting solution,” he observed.