THE MINORITY New Patriotic Party (NPP) has taken a swipe at President John Dramani Mahama, noting that because of his government’s indebtedness to the Volta River Authority (VRA), the power generation firm has no money to buy crude to power the thermal plants.
“Mr. President, because of your government’s indebtedness to VRA, it could not import crude to fire the thermal plants. This has compelled the VRA to overly depend on Akosombo to generate more power into the system. This has been the practice since 2012”, noted the Minority.
They added: “It is said that VRA has been generating between 25-30% much more power from Akosombo than they ought to be doing. Therefore, Mr. President, the fall in the level of the Akosombo reservoir to a critical level is not solely due to low rainfall in the catchment areas, as you stated, but more as a result of the spillage and the over generation by VRA”.
in Accra yesterday at a press conference, where they delivered their version of the state of the nation’s address dubbed; “The true message of the present state of the nation”.
No question was allowed in the one-sided event, which saw the Minority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who addressed the gathering, describing the nation as restless and yet was being painted a very rosy picture by President Mahama.
Government indebted to ECG
According to the Minority, the VRA is not the only institution which is cash trapped. It argued in the “true message of the present state of the nation” that the government is indebted to the Electricity Company of Ghana by more than GH¢700million, with the power distribution company also reported to be owing the VRA.
“ECG, which needs to change some of their distribution lines, cannot do that because of lack of funds. In the event, about 20% of the already insufficient power is generated lost through faulty transmission lines. Government owes the BDCs hugely and huge interests are piling up. It is one reason why government does not want to reduce fuel prices”, the Minority explained.
Commenting further, the Minority said despite the unavailability of funds to buy crude, there were lingering issues over Jubilee gas, which was expected to come on stream earlier, with some cohorts of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) wanting to own the process and have their stamp and seal on the package.
According to the Minority, even though Jubilee gas is now available, about half of it is stuck and cannot be ferried to the Tema thermal plants. This, they argued, is because of lack of interconnection between the Atuabo Gas Pipeline and the West Africa Gas Pipeline.
Emergency solution
President Mahama, in his message on the state of the nation delivered on the floor of the Parliament on Thursday, February 26, 2015, proposed to solve the current energy crisis by feeding into the system 1000MW of power, which was expected to be provided by Karpower ship (Turkey) 450MW, APR (UAE) 250MW, and GE300MW.
But the Minority argued that such an emergency solution should have been affected long ago, before degenerating into a jumble, where companies have folded up and many lives lost because of frequent power cuts across the country.
“This is the emergency solution that the nation requires and has required since August 2012. A nation that is distressed, indeed, comatose, needs immediate revival. In an emergency ward the patient needs first to be revived even though medium-term and long-term remedies are good. Why has it taken so long for government to bring in these emergency power generating systems? The answer is simple: there was no money”, they stressed.
Parliamentary scrutiny
Commenting further on the power purchase agreements between Karpower, APR and GE, the Minority said because the guarantees involved in the agreements were collateral cover by the state, they must be subjected to Parliamentary scrutiny before possible approval by the legislature.
“Even though the nation is in distress, there cannot be any short circuits in this. As well, all Power Purchase Agreements, because they are international business transactions must be approved by Parliament.
“Nothing should be done which may create a future dispute as happened in the cases of Faroe Atlantic in 2000 – 2001 and SIIF who could not deliver emergency power in 1999 – 2000 but did so in late 2001 – 2002 long after the power crisis of that time was over”, noted the Minority.