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Business News of Thursday, 2 August 2018

Source: Michael Creg Afful

Explore opportunities in West Africa sub-region - Boakye Agyarko urges GRIDCo

The Minister for Energy Hon. Boakye Agyarko, has charged the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) to take steps to become a leading power exporter in the West African sub-region by extending its operations beyond Ghana.

According to him, GRIDCo must look at going beyond Ghana by exporting power to places such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Togo, Benin, Niger and Mali in order to generate revenues.

Mr Boakye Agyarko made the call in a speech delivered on his behalf by his special adviser and former CEO of GRIDCo Ing. William Amuna at a durbar to climax the 10th anniversary of GRIDCo in Tema

"GRIDCo has a very bright future. We will now urge you to stretch beyond Ghana. GRIDCo will have to go into the rest of West Africa. Go to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso,Mali,Niger and the rest of West Africa and make yourself felt. You have all the expertise," he said.

Touching on the financial challenges confronting GRIDCo, Mr Agyarko said the ministry was aware of the difficulties they are going through in getting Electricity Company of Ghana and others to pay for services rendered and assured that the ministry is working assiduously to resolve their financial challenges.

He mentioned that the issuance of the ESLA Bond by the Ministry of Finance is all part of efforts by the ministry to clear the over $2.4 billion energy sector debt.

Call for sacrifice

The Minister who commended the staff of GRIDCo for working hard to keep the lights on for the past one decade, urged them to continue to sacrifice to ensure the sustainability of GRIDCo.

In his view, it will not be wise for the staff to become unconcerned and look on for the company to collapse since it would also affect them.

"We're all aware of the challenges of GRIDCo. Definitely you are a part of GRIDCo and it's your duty to ensure that GRIDCo succeeds. If GRIDCo collapse it will collapse with everybody.

"This is the time to make sacrifices. This is the time to support the management in all its activities to ensure that all projects go on very well," he advised.

ECG Concession takes off Feb 2019

Mr. Boakye Agyarko also disclosed that the concession agreement between the Government of Ghana and Meralco consortium for Private Sector Participation (PSP) in the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) is to take off fully by February, 2019.

According to him, all parties are expected to fulfil their conditions precedent to completely transfer the operations and properties to Meralco by January next year and February 2019, the PSP will take over fully operation of ECG.

He further stated that the period of the concession has been reduced from 25 years to 20 years, adding that the Ghanaian participation component will be increased from 20 percent to 51 percent as all ECG workers transferred to the concessionaire are expected to keep their jobs and the collective bargaining agreement.

“One of the intervention by government to ensure that there is liquidate in the power sector in particular is the ECG PSP and I am happy to announce that everything has gone through and by February 2019, the private participant will take over ECG and starts its operation,” he noted.

He explained that government is expecting more in the deal in terms of revenue collection, more efficiency in power delivery and also in the general management of the power distribution network.

He expressed optimism that when the deal successfully goes through, it will end up making the power sector a better place.

“As we speak now, we are at the final stage of meeting all the conditions precedent to the PSP coming to forth in February and a committee has been set up to ensure that the rest of the 45 conditions outstanding are met by January, 2019 for a smooth take off,” Mr. Agyarko stated.

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