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Opinions of Sunday, 21 July 2013

Columnist: Thompson, Kofi

Privatise State-Owned Power Companies Now

By Kofi Thompson

It was disheartening hearing that a Swedish company had been awarded a management contract to run the Electricity of Ghana (ECG) - and that their work would begin in the Ashanti Region.

Why do our ruling elites never learn from past debacles in such instances, one wonders?

What good did the Norwegians who managed the defunct Ghana Telecom (GT) for a small fortune, do to GT's fortunes? Ditto Aqua Vittens Rand's management contract to run the Ghana Water Company Limited?

Has it never struck the senior public servants who advise government ministers that Japanese power companies could be persuaded to buy the ECG, the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCO), the Volta River Authority (VRA) and the Bui Power Authority (BPA), and assume all their debt as part of the deal?

Ghana would benefit from such a deal in the medium to long term, by having an efficiently-run and modernised power sector - and the Japanese power companies would have the opportunity to expand in an emerging market, from which they could export power to the lucrative West African sub-regional market.

With respect, giving out management contracts to foreign companies, to run state-owned Ghanaian power-sector entities in need of massive infusions of cash, simply does not make business sense - and ought to be swiftly shelved.

The time has come to privatise Ghana's state-owned power companies - as the vast majority of Ghanaians have come to the conclusion that the private-sector is better placed to provide them with reliable electricity supplied on a year-round basis.

That is why it now makes perfect sense to sell the state-owned power companies, to world-class companies with the wherewithal and technical know-how, to modernise Ghana's power sector - and make it one of the most efficient and reliable in the world. A word to the wise...

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