Government Owes VRA GH¢250m

MINISTRIES, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that are under the control of government owe the Volta River Authority (VRA) a colossal amount of

about GH¢252 million, contributing to the ailing financial situation of the authority, which has asked Ghanaians to pay more tariffs for power generation.

Out of the amount, three distressed mining companies, Ghana Consolidated Diamond Company at Akwatia, Dunkwa Consolidated Goldfields and Prestea Gold Resources owe about GH¢9.8 million.

Consequently, Deputy Minister for Energy, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, who led a team of senior officials from VRA to the Public hearings of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, revealed that MDAs would soon be asked to pay for their electricity consumption without tossing the debt to the central government.

The Ministry of Energy, VRA and Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) are in the process of providing pre-paid meters to MDAs for them to check their power consumption to be more responsible, cautioning that “there will be no free launch any more.”  

Presenting the figures to the Public Accounts Committee which is currently looking at the Auditor-General’s report on departments and agencies under the Ministry of Energy from 2004 to 2005 , the Chief Executive Officer of VRA, Kweku Awotwe Andoh said debts and high levels of production were threatening the survival of Authority.

“I am worried about the future of VRA because operational cost are more than the revenue that we get,” Mr. Andoh disclosed, adding that even if all the arrears or debts were collected, VRA would still need some additional funds to cover its power generation cost.

Ghana’s power generation body, VRA, ECG and the Ghana Grid Company have been under serious pressure and criticism lately for inadequate power supply and distribution, culminating in intermittent power cuts across the country.

However, Mr. Andoh said VRA is working to generate power as “its production cost is above the revenue generated or collected.”

Asked whether operational losses were not contributing to the high cost of production, the VRA boss said even if the losses were minimized to tolerable levels it would still offset the cost of production.

According to him, the Authority has reduced its commercial and technical losses from about 31 percent to 18 percent over the last five years, explaining that “more could still be done to reduce it to about 8 percent.”

Referring to the Auditor-General’s report, Albert Kan-Dapaah, the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Efigya-Sekyere West said, “The financial positions and operational performances of the Boards and Corporations could have been healthier if schedule officers had effectively supervised management to address their weaknesses and lapses.”

He thanked GTZ and the Parliamentary Centre for sponsoring the sittings and workshops that preceded the public hearings.

By Awudu Mahama