A former Deputy Minister for Power, John Jinapor, has said the current incessant power cuts in most parts of the country would never had happened under a National Democratic Congress (NDC) government if they had won the 2016 election. According to him, the NDC would have been more assertive and effective in managing the situation in a way that would not result in the present situation.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, he said although the NDC faced a more challenging situation, it managed it better to prevent Ghanaians from experiencing the full impact. “Never [this wouldn’t have happened under NDC], given the investment we made, the general capacity that we put in place, the fact that we put in place a deliberate, concrete, but difficult decisions to restructure the energy sector financial system and began paying the banks. In August, we paid the banks 250 million, we paid almost all the various stakeholders with the energy sector levy which the NPP government says it will scrap. We faced a worse situation,” he said. “It is planning. Clearly when you know that you are going for a shutdown of the FPSO, you do what we call staggering. You phase the maintenance schedule, you don’t box all of them into a particular period and run the risk of knocking off all the plants,” he said.
He lamented that the NDC government in anticipation of the scheduled maintenance, drew a schedule with the management of the Volta River Authority (VRA) to ensure a smooth operation despite the maintenance works, but the NPP government unfortunately fired the CEO of the Authority immediately it came to office. Speaking on the floor of parliament on Tuesday, February 28, 2017, on the same subject in reaction to a statement from the Ministry of Energy that stated that ‘dumsor’ wasn’t over with the election of anew government, Mr Jinapor said “We [NDC] worked tirelessly, the whole of last year [and] we had reliable and sustainable energy. The FPSO went off for two months and we never had dumsor. Mr. Speaker; it dazzles my imagination that the FPSO goes off for just one week and almost the whole nation is plunged into darkness.”
He said the NDC took over power in 2009 when access to electricity was about 50%, but “today as I speak to you, access to electricity is 83.5% second to only South Africa.” “We wish to entreat our colleagues on the other side that on Thursday when the budget is presented by the Minister of Finance, we shall keenly monitor to ensure that the energy sector levies and the VAT which they promised are scrapped or not. And the people of Ghana will make a decision on whether they sold their colour television and they have been offered black and white TV or not,” he added. New deadline to end of dumsor Following recent erratic power cuts in Accra and other parts of the country, the Minister of Energy, Boakye Agyarko assured that the situation will normalize by end of Saturday, February 25, 2017, but it turned out to be false.
The Energy Ministry subsequently issued a statement extending the deadline to Monday, February 27, 2017. “We wish to state that with the tie-in operation successfully completed, and coupled with the measures we put in place including procurement of fuel and increased power supply from La Cote d’Ivoire, the [power] situation will normalize from 27th February 2017,” a statement signed by the Communications Officer at the Energy Ministry, King A. Wellington, added. We inherited a “heavily indebted energy sector” – Akufo-Addo Ghana’s energy sector is currently in a “heavily indebted” state, President Akufo-Addo told Parliament in his first state of the nation address. According to him, the sector has enormous problems that must be addressed urgently. “We have inherited a heavily indebted energy sector with a net debt reaching $2.4bn as of December 2016. I have to point out the alarming facts that $800 million of this debt is owed to local banks which threaten their stability and that of the whole financial sector. Indeed, the huge indebtedness of the energy sector constitutes the single major hurdle to Ghanaians enjoying reliable and affordable electricity supply,” Akufo-Addo said.