General News of Monday, 16 February 2015
The Power Ministry has defended government’s decision to import power barges to augment the existing power generation plants in the country to help curb the current energy crisis.
President Mahama has directed that the procurement of the barges be fast-tracked after recent suggestions that one of the turbines of the Akosombo Dam may have to be shut down.
The President also recently directed the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to provide funding or a financial guarantee to support the government’s plans to bring power barges from Turkey.
The government has received widespread criticism following its decision to import the barges, with several commentators arguing that this move will come at a cost to the taxpayer.
The government has also come under fire for its decision to sign a six-year agreement for the emergency barges, with some claiming it will contribute to the mismanagement of the country’s limited finances.
However, deputy power minister, John Abdulla Jinapor, addressing a forum on the alternative power supply, justified government’s plans, stating that the barges were a necessary supplement to the country’s energy demands.
“We believe that, immediately, what we should do is bring in the power barges, what we call emergency power. But that has also generated a debate; because with the emergency power we signed for about six years, and people said how. [They believe that] emergency power is for emergencies so it should be some few months,” he said.
“Experts will tell you that when you use the word emergency in the energy sub-sector, it is quite different from our normal day-to-day activities so depending on how you do it you can keep it for as long as you want and in Lebanon where I visited, the barges have been there for year,” he explained.
Mr. Jinapor believes that, the current energy challenges were affecting the economy negatively, and it is absolutely that the energy power is brought in to forestall any further effect on the country’s revenue generation.
“Anytime we have energy challenges productivity goes down, and when that happens our revenue flows go down and when it does so, it contracts the GPD and that has serious implications for the economy,” he added.