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General News of Thursday, 9 April 2015


Resolving ‘dumsor’: Give us definite timelines

Captains of industry have asked the government to come up with timelines indicating short, medium and long-term solutions to the current power crisis.

They said the impact of the power shortfall on industry was so enormous that some companies had reduced production drastically while some workers had lost their jobs.

They also called for the creation of industrial zones for the manufacturing sector dedicated to businesses where companies could have reliable energy and supplies of other utilities.

Officials of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) made the suggestions in separate interviews on how they are coping with the energy situation in the wake of the power crisis.

Power producers and distributors have had to implement load-shedding management involving 24-hour outage and 12-hour power supply because of energy shortfalls that have bedevilled the country for the past three years.

The President of the AGI, Mr James Asare Adjei, said even though the association was yet to collect data on the effects of the crisis, the impact was enormous on industries, adding that information reaching the AGI indicated that industries were cutting down on production and staff.

He said the energy crisis and its impact on industry were becoming worse by the day, adding that it was becoming difficult for the association to see any solution in the immediate future.

In view of the situation, Mr Adjei said the AGI had proposed to meet the Minister of Power, Dr Kwabena Donkor, for an update on how the government was dealing with the energy problem.

“Such a meeting has become necessary because the pledge by the government to provide power barges in the first quarter of the year had not been redeemed,” he said.

As part of strategies to resolve the power crisis, the GCCI, for its part, proposed the creation of an industrial zone for the manufacturing sector.

Sharing the perspective of the chamber on the way forward, its Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Badu Aboagye, said a better lasting solution to the problem was the creation of industrial zones for the manufacturing sector.

Throwing more light on the industrial zone, he said the source of power for such a zone should be different from the one from the national grid.

He said in many countries, most industries operated in industrial zones where there was a constant supply of power through collaboration between the government and the private sector.

Mr Aboagye hinted that the chamber had received proposals from Turkey on how to establish an industrial zone, adding that it was still working on the proposals.

There was a relative improvement in power supply during the Easter period, but officials of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) say the situation was only temporary.

According to the ECG, 340 megawatts (MW) of power was still being shed daily, a situation which would continue to necessitate load-shedding management.

In a message in response to enquiries by the Daily Graphic on the power supply situation last Tuesday, the Public Relations Manager of the ECG, Mr William Boateng, said, “What I know is that we had some relief during the holidays but I’m not sure it will continue. For example, today we are shedding 340MW off peak. So there is no new timetable yet.”

In an interview, the Minister of Power, Dr. Donkor, said the relative improvement in power supply during the festive season was as a result of the fact that some industries shut down during the period.

That, he said, made it possible for what would have been supplied to industry to be made available for domestic use.

"As of now, we don't have any information on whether periods of outages will be reduced from the present situation. We can only make available information as and when we have it," he told the Daily Graphic in Accra.

The Akosombo Hydroelectric Power Plant supplies about 1,020MW of energy, followed by the Bui Dam, which produces 400MW, with the Aboadze Thermal Plant producing 360MW and the Takoradi Thermal Plant, 330 MW.

Kpong produces 160MW, while the country’s first solar plant at Punga in the Upper East Region produces 2MW, giving the country 2,272MW of combined electricity supply.