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Business News of Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Source: thebftonline.com

VRA makes GH¢156 million profit after 9 years of losses

Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa, VRA’s Chief Executive Officer

The Volta River Authority (VRA) has made a profit of GH¢156 million in the 2020 fiscal year, up from a loss of GH¢127 million the previous year.

Last year’s profit brings to an end a streak of losses in the last nine years and was achieved through a reduction in cost, leveraging technology and an aggressive export strategy, VRA’s Chief Executive Officer, Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa, told the B&FT.

A recovery plan introduced in 2017, played a pivotal role in guiding the state-owned power generator and supplier back to the path of profitability.

“The most important thing, I think, for all state institutions, is to control your cost and do some work on your revenues. If you get these two right, that is it. We cut down our discretional cost significantly, we expanded our revenue base by exporting more power to Burkina Faso, Benin and Togo,” he said.

He spoke during VRA’s 11th stakeholder engagement in Accra and said the country’s largest power generation company had turned a corner in its operations.

“The fiscal year 2020, in spite of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, ended with an excellent financial performance. Indeed, in the year under review, the VRA recorded an impressive improvement in all its major performance metrics,” its Board Chairman, Kofi Tutu Agyare, said.

Meanwhile, in its quest for new growth opportunities, Mr. Antwi-Darkwa said the Authority is looking to vary its operations and generation sources and sees clean, cost-efficient, diversified sources of energy like solar, wind and biomass as the future in the energy space.

All these diversification and expansion efforts are to be achieved through technology Mr. Antwi-Darkwa said.

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In this direction, VRA plans to convert the Akosombo township into a smart city, and by so doing, make it the technology hub of the country; as well as harnessing the full potential of the 60MW Pwalugu Multi-purpose dam, which comes with an additional 50MW solar component. It further plans to introduce electric buses in Akosombo next year.

Other upcoming projects include conversion of Kpone Thermal Power Plant to Combined Cycle conversion of Tema Thermal Power Plant to Combined Cycle and repowering of Takoradi 3 (T3) Thermal Plant as well as construction of the phase II of Kaleo solar plant in the Upper West Region, Bongo I & II Solar project and 75MW Wind Project.

Ultimately, he said, it is the Authority’s goal to be a leader in clean energy, move beyond aid from government and become financially sufficient.

Energy transition and digitisation

For his part, Minister for Energy, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, urged the Authority to play a leading role in the country’s transition to cleaner energy sources as well as efforts to digitise the economy.

“Globally, utilities are transitioning speedily towards clean technologies and digitising their operations; and I have no doubt that VRA will provide leadership in these efforts in Ghana and in our sub-region,” he said in a speech read on his behalf.

Dr. Opoku Prempeh, who described the Authority as unique and strategic, stated that despite liberalisation of the power sector, government still relies on it for ancillary services, emergency power supply, technical expertise and benchmarking.

“The remarkable performance posted in 2020, represents the first year of profitability after six continuous years of reducing your losses,” he said.