Business News of Thursday, 8 January 2015
Source: Graphic Online
President John Dramani Mahama has said Ghana needs to generate at least 220 megawatts (MW) of power every year to be able to put an end to the erratic power supply, popularly referred to as “dumsor, dumsor”.
Currently, a number of memoranda of understanding (MoUs) are being considered by the government to generate up to 3,000MW of power for the next 10 years and beyond in order to avoid the recurrence of inadequate power supply.
President Mahama, who was speaking on Angel FM, a Kumasi-based radio station, yesterday to mark his second year in office, said beyond hydro, the government was roping in thermal power generation, including the ‘regasification barge plant’ to cater for the power needs of Tema and its environs.
He said a mixture of all those sources of power was the panacea to Ghana’s long-standing power crisis which could not be blamed on a particular regime.
The President said the current power crisis was a result of an increase in demand by Ghanaians between 1992 and now.
He said his promise to banish ‘dumsor’ from Ghana at the Perez Chapel in Accra on December 31, 2014 had been a ‘prophetic supplication’ to God, which he said he was optimistic God had heard, but not a promise, as captured by a section of the media.
President Mahama, who touched on a wide range of issues, focused more on the power and road and transport sectors as the lynchpin to anchor Ghana’s development agenda.
The government is spending $170 million on the first phase of the Takoradi Port expansion project; $620 million on the Western rail line project, as well as $1.5 billion on the expansion of the Tema Port.
He said currently, the Tema Port could not accommodate ‘super containers’ and the expansion project was to focus on the dredging of the harbour to about 16 metres deep to handle the situation.
On the delayed completion of the Suhum-Apedwa road, the President said the project formed part of the ‘Gang of 4’ projects, including the Sofoline Interchange in Kumasi, being sponsored by the government.
He said in spite of the funding difficulties, the idea of the contractor tackling both carriages of the road at the same time was to blame for the delay.
Subsequently, he said, the contractor had been instructed to finish a single carriage lane, so that drivers could ply it while the other carriage lane was tackled.
The President said phase one of the ‘Outer Ring road project,’ which is to be undertaken by a Japanese company, was to provide an alternative route or divert traffic to Kumasi.
He used the interview to correct the impression that the Kumasi Airport was now an international airport.
He said the airport had been named as an international airport since 2003 under the New Patriotic Party (NPP) regime and all that his administration had done was to expand the facility, including the runway and first phase of its lighting system.
He said there was the need to deal with encroachers on parts of the airport land to enable the Ghana Airports Company to further expand the runway for it to accommodate bigger aircraft.
Also on stream was the Tamale Airport project to be upgraded to international status, he added.
Crude oil and fuel reduction
The President dropped the hint that the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) could further reduce the price of fuel, but said the current 10 per cent reduction was drastic.
He said the government had an outstanding debt of GH¢171 million to pay to the bulk oil distribution companies (BDCs) and so there was the need to be prudent in using the price difference to settle the debt because “you cannot have your cake and eat it”.
President Mahama suggested that as a long-term measure, there was the need for Parliament to set up a mitigation or hedge levy to cater for future price increases on the world stage to avoid the recurrence of the current situation.
He said beyond the provision of more second-cycle schools, the government was to set up a 10,000 scholarship programme for pupils from deprived areas, out of which 60 per cent would be girls.