General News of Friday, 13 February 2015
Source: Graphic Online
The Minority in Parliament has raised concerns about a directive from the Presidency asking the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to provide funding or a financial guarantee to support the government’s plans to bring two power barges from Turkey to ease the nation’s power problems.
According to the Minority, the request was outside the mandate of the state-owned oil giant, and has therefore called on the Minister of Power to bring the agreement to Parliament for scrutiny.
The Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, in an interview with Citi FM said, “I understand the Ministry of Finance has issued a comfort letter for GNPC to do the transaction. I can confirm further that ECOBANK has issued the first $50million because apparently the requirement is US$100million and aside this consent, there is no transparency.”
“First of all to the extent that the Ministry of Finance has issued a comfort letter, it’s technically a guarantee, should ECG not be able to meet the payment obligation government would have to pay GNPC and I think that because it was an international economic/business transaction, that matter should be brought before Parliament, so Parliament can get the chance to review the agreement.
“We are calling on the Minister of Power to cause to be brought to Parliament this agreement, so that the people’s representatives, we are all suffering from this energy shock, so if it is something proper that the government is doing, I’m sure they would get support.”
Dr Akoto Osei said the way government was handling the issue was not proper. “How does the president direct a board? He can only suggest not direct because we will hold the board accountable should they fail.”
The two emergency power barges are expected to generate about 450 megawatts (MW) of power to help stabilize energy supply in the country. The two power barges, each of which has 225 MW, are expected in the country by the end of April 2015.