Don’t Sell ECG – Group Warns Gov’t

A pressure group calling itself ‘Save ECG Now’ has warned government to rescind its decision to privatize the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCO).

The group, in a press statement, said the decision to privatize ECG was detrimental.

Government accordingly intends to privatize the ECG and NEDCO for a period of 25 years at a price of $450 million.

Staff of ECG have been calling for a review of government’s decision to cede the power distribution company to a foreign investor since the plan was announced.

However, the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) has assured staff of Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the general public that the consultative process on government’s decision to proceed with a long-term concession arrangement for ECG is not over.

Responding to a press statement recently issued by the Public Workers Utility Workers Union (PUWU) of the TUC on the Private Sector Participation in ECG under the Second Compact of the Millennium Challenge Corporation of USA and the Government of Ghana, MiDA expressed its willingness to engage the union and staff of ECG and other stakeholders in talks to address various issues.

MiDA has indicated that the planned concession was in line with the Power Sector Reform Programme which was adopted by Ghana in 1994.

But Save ECG Now, in statement signed by its spokesperson Boye William said, “government should stop the political infiltrations and interferences in the running of the two companies.”

The statement indicated that government’s indebtedness to ECG was partly responsible for the abysmal performance of the company and so government rather than focusing on privatizing the company, should pay its debts.

According to Save ECG Now, it has over the past few months conducted investigations into the activities of the ECG and the Northern Electricity Distribution Company.

“Our findings reveal a state of affairs which is potentially criminal and absolutely unforgivable which must be dealt with in accordance with the laws of Ghana forthwith,” the group indicated.

It said “we further found as a fact that the government owes ECG a crippling sum in the region of $500 million which has severely hampered the operations of the company.”

It added that “curiously, we found that the government intends to pay this amount after the concession.”

“Finally, we found that the government of Ghana takes up to 70 percent of revenue generated by the ECG for non-industrial related use,” according to the group.

It added that “we have no doubt that these are the reasons why ECG and NEDCO have underperformed in recent years.”

The group said that “in lieu of privatization, we recommend that the government gives the relevant attention, financial and otherwise, to the Strategic Business Unit (SBU) of ECG.”

By Melvin Tarlue

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