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General News of Thursday, 1 August 2019

Source: Starr FM

PDS saga a dent on parliament – Edward Bawa


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National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Bongo has said government’s suspension of the concession agreement with Power Distribution Services (PDS) is a major dent on parliament’s ability to diligently scrutinise agreements.

PDS took over ECG on March 1 after its major shareholder Meralco Consortium from the Philippines won the Millennium Challenge Power Compact Two from the U.S.A.

However a little over four months after the takeover, government suspended the contract after the “detection of fundamental and material breaches of PDS’ obligation in the provision of Payment Securities (Demand Guarantees) for the transaction which has been discovered upon further due diligence,” Information Minister Kojo Oppong said.

Commenting on the development, Bawa said the agreement was cooked from the very beginning for someone.

“Everything that was done was done in a hurry with the whole aim of cooking it for somebody.”

“If you look at even the government side, one of the conditions subsequently was the fact that the government was going to ensure that they have cause reflective tariffs as a basis. If you talk to PDS privately, they will tell you they never had cause reflective tariff even with the new major tariff review,” he told Starr News’ Ibrahim Alhssan Wednesday.

“You remember when PURC was postponing their major tariff reviews from March to July, one of the things they captured was the fact that because PDS was going to be part of the mix they were moving it there so that when the contract becomes effective, they can then go ahead to the tariff reviews taking into consideration the provisions that were in that concession agreement.

“So, I’m just trying to show that if you look at all these and you then today get up in the morning and you hear that the insurers or maybe the guarantors’ guarantee was procured fraudulently it is an embarrassment to the country.

Two, I think that it is a serious embarrassment on Parliament,” he added.

Meanwhile, a former UN adviser on governance Prof. Agyemang Duah has urged President Akufo-Addo to name and punish officials in his government who are culpable in the failed PDS-ECG concession deal.

According to him, the suspension of the deal by the government a few months down the line is an indication of shoddy work done.

“We’ll have to fault government and some other officials for not doing thorough due diligence. Rushing major contracts worth millions of dollars will land us in loses if we’re not careful. If the government has had the courage to suspend the contract then it should have that same courage to mention those behind the contract and let them face the law.

“Those who are culpable should be subjected to investigations and the necessary action taken after investigations,” he told Morning Starr host Francis Abban Thursday.

Also, the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) called for the immediate interdiction of the leadership of the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) – the implementing agency for Ghana’s Power Compact.

Addressing a news conference on the development, Executive Director of ACEP Benjamin Boakye blamed MiDA for shirking its responsibilities hence necessary action must be taken on its leadership to ensure they do not interfere with investigations.

Meanwhile, another energy think tank, the Institute of Energy Security is of a contrary view on the role of MiDA in the botched PDS deal.

Research and policy analyst with the institute, Mikdad Mohammed told Starr News, but for the proactiveness of MiDA, Ghanaians would have been fully ripped off.

Ghana signed the Power Compact with the United States of America acting through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), an independent United States government agency, on the sidelines of the US Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington DC on August 5, 2014.

Under the Power Compact, six projects are being implemented to address the root causes of the unavailability and unreliability of power in Ghana.

The project includes ECG Financial and Operational Turnaround Project, NEDCo Financial and Operational Turnaround Project, Regulatory Strengthening and Capacity Building Project, and Access Project.

The rest are Power Generation Sector Improvement Project and Energy Efficiency, and Demand Side Management Project.

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