General News of Saturday, 21 February 2015
President John Mahama’s comment that the demonstration held on February 18, 2015 by the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) encourages him to solve Ghana’s worsening power crisis is an indictment on his Power Minister Dr Kwabena Donkor, who mocked at the demonstrators by describing the exercise as a “health walk,” Executive Director of the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG), Dr Emmanuel Akwetey has said on Joy FM’s news analysis programme newsfile on Saturday February 21, 2015.
“No matter how you dress it up, it’s bad,” Dr Akwetey, who was recently honoured by the US Embassy in Ghana with the Martin Luther King Jr. Award said on the programme hosted by Samson Lardy Anyenini.
Dr Akwetey said the approach of the President to the demonstration inures to the benefit of the country, but took exception to what he saw as a partisan posture of the Power Minister in response to the protest march.
The demonstration, which was led by the NPP’s flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo was attended by a mammoth crowd.
The NPP used the march to express the frustration of Ghanaians to the Mahama Government about the current energy crisis.
Ghana’s worsening power crisis has resulted in a load shedding exercise by state energy distributor Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
There is a production shortfall which has come about due to lack of gas from the West Africa Gas Pipeline in Nigeria to power some thermal plants across Ghana to supplant production.
Also the country’s three hydro-electric power stations: Akosombo, Bui and Kpong are not running at their full capacity due to low hydrology.
The Akosombo Dam which supplies close to 40 percent of Ghana’s power needs is running just four of its six engines. State power producer Volta River Authority (VRA) has given indications that a third engine might be turned off if the situation persists.
Also, the 400-Megawatt Bui Dam has largely been off the production chain. It is only used in emergency situations. President John Mahama and his Power Minister Dr Kwabena Donkor have said the country is importing two power barges from Turkey at a cost of $250 million to shore up production in the interim by about 450 Megawatts. The barges are expected in the country by April.