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Business News of Thursday, 24 August 2017

Source: citifmonline.com

Government didn’t inform VRA about sale of thermal plants – Workers

Some employees at the Volta River Authority (VRA) have alleged that government failed to inform the Authority about its plans to sell off some of the company’s thermal plants.

Government has commenced the process of selection for a transaction advisor for the sale of VRA thermal plants.

According to an advertisement seen by citifmonline.com. the move is part of efforts to restructure the energy sector.

The Transaction Advisor, among others, would be expected to execute the sale of the thermal assets of the Volta River Authority (VRA).

“As part of government’s efforts to restructure the energy sector and optimising the operational efficiency of the power SOEs, a number of policy measures are being explored. Key among these measures is government’s consideration that separating VRA’s thermal operations from its hydro operations will improve their ability to favourably compete with other power generating companies significantly and return it to profitability,” the advert said.

But the employees who are livid over the decision have vowed to fight the move.

Workers who spoke to citifmonline.com on condition of anonymity said both management and staff were not told about advert or the potential sale. They say government intends to sell off VRA’s thermal assets, estates and other non-core assets.

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta had given indications of involving the private sector in restructuring the VRA when he presented the 2017 budget in Parliament, saying a new entity will “hold” the VRA’s thermal assets.

“Mr. Speaker, as a government, we are committed to achieving a least-cost power generation infrastructure through accelerated private sector participation. This will partly involve the restructuring of the power sector by bringing all hydro generation exclusively under the Volta River Authority (VRA) and creating a separate thermal market.. A new entity will hold the thermal assets which are currently held by VRA and make available a significant portion of this entity for private sector investment in pursuit of its private sector participation policy,” said the Minister.

He re-affirmed it in the mid-year budget, saying “Mr. Speaker, one key intervention that Government promised in the 2017 Budget Statement was the restructuring of the Volta River Authority (VRA) to bring about increased operational efficiency and private sector investments in the power. Government has approved the VRA restructuring agenda submitted by the Ministry to Cabinet and processes towards the implementation of the restructuring agenda have begun under the coordination of the Finance Ministry.”