Feature Article of Sunday, 14 April 2013
Columnist: Wondoh, John
The present energy crisis has become a national headache, arousing the interest of many to look more closely at the energy sector and its management. The load shedding has adversely affected productivity in most industries and organisation and has even brought some businesses to a complete standstill. This crisis is a very big blow to Ghanaians and has therefore gained popularity in our media houses; not a day goes by without a discussion on this, popularly called ‘dumsor dumsor’. Most people are contributing their quota to solve the problem by making relevant suggestions to the government whiles others are pointing fingers and looking for persons to blame.
The government has shown great commitment in resolving this crisis and is ensuring that this power crunch does not repeat itself in the future. Also, major plans to ensure that this crisis does not occur again are to make sure that more power is generated to exceed its demand. Currently, the megawatt generated is about 2000 MW which is just enough to satisfy the power needs of the nation. If an extra 3000 MW can be generated by 2016, then there would be enough reserved power thus minimising the possibility of an energy crisis occurring again. While we would be having so much surplus power, a wise thing to do is to export some of the power to generate funds for other sectors in the country.
It is rather unfortunate that people who are supposed to effectively educate the public when given the platform because of their experience and education keep disappointing the good people of Ghana. As a former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Volta River Authority (VRA), Dr. Wereko Brobbey’s opinions in relation to the energy sector keep shocking me.
I was totally out of words when I read the news item titled “Only a ‘fool’ will believe Ghana can become a net exporter of power – Tarzan” in myjoyonline.com on the 10th of April 2013. He said “nobody should talk about exporting electricity in this country. Never! Electricity is not cocoa, gold or bauxite. Electricity is meant to be used to work and improve Ghana. Nkrumah did not give us electricity to be exported, he said we should use it to add value to cocoa, gold and export them to make more money.”
The word impossibility should not be associated with the possibility of Ghana becoming a net exporter of electricity. The problem is not whether or not Ghana can become a net exporter of electricity but whether electricity can be made available, accessible and affordable to all Ghanaians no matter their location. Electricity is not accessible to many Ghanaians, especially those living in rural areas. We cannot be exporting power when there are Ghanaians not benefitting from the power generated in the country. However, this is only a bridge and not an obstacle to Ghana becoming a net exporter of electricity.
If Dr. Wereko Brobbey was actually ever the CEO of VRA, then he would know that Ghana exports electricity to our neighbouring countries; Benin and Togo. Perhaps, to him, this is not exportation. Ghana is already doing well in the world ranking of energy exporters as it is ranked 60 among 212 countries. Germany is currently leading with Canada placing second. Canada made a profit of about 3.8 million dollars in 2008 from exporting electricity. It is imperative that Ghana generates more than enough power to ensure that we do not experience another energy crisis. However, the benefits of exporting surplus electricity after the power needs of the nation has been satisfied cannot overemphasize.
Personally, I expected Dr. Wereko Brobbey as the former CEO of VRA to be the one supporting the implementation of president’s plan but he is actually bluntly disputing it. There are two logical explanations to his bizarre behaviour. It is either he is a pessimist or he does not have the prosperity of Ghana at heart else he wouldn’t be making such pronouncements.
It is time that people who have the growth of the nation at heart to arise and work towards the attainment of the achievable goals we have set for ourselves as a nation. Let us not give up on Ghana but be optimistic about the future of our country and enthusiastic in performing our duties as citizens. As Napoleon Bonaparte rightly put it, “Impossible is a word to be found only in the dictionary of fools”.