General News of Wednesday, 2 December 2015
Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has revealed a diary of government’s numerous unfulfilled promises on the erratic power crisis, ‘exposing’ what he says is Mahama’s lack of commitment to end the years of dumsor.
The running mate to the New Patriotic Party’s flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo was curious that although the promises spanned over years, government has still not found a solution to the militating problem.
Taking on the government’s financial statement for 2016 presented by the Finance Minister last month, Dr. Bawumia noted that the NDC government had borrowed a total of $37 billion but wondered how much of that had been allocated to solving the energy crisis.
“If this was a priority for government, the necessary allocation of resources would have been made to solve it,” he analysed.
The economist jabbed President Mahama for not realizing the economic effect of the frustrating crisis, but chose to play politics with it.
“President Mahama’s latest comments in Tamale that Dumsor will end before the 2016 Election and cannot be used for politics exposes the thinking of the government and the President. For the President and his government, Dumsor is not an economic issue but a political issue.
“They care little about the businesses dumsor has collapsed or the jobs dumsor has collapsed in the past 4 years. Rather, their major concern is what it can be used for come the election year and what it cannot be used for. Solving dumsor clearly has not been a priority these past four years and may only become a priority as we get close to the election.”
Dr. Bawumia chronicles below government’s dumor promises
THE ENERGY CRISIS – THE LOAD SHEDDING (“DUMSOR”) PROBLEM
Over the last four years Ghana has been experiencing severe shortages of electricity for domestic and industrial use. This has resulted in implementation of a regular as well as irregular load-shedding program that has been christened “dumsor” by Ghanaians. It is a fact that this government inherited an economy without dumsor in 2009. By 2012 however dumsor was the order of the day. In response, Government started a promising spree which with hindsight shows either they did not quite understand the problem or they were deliberately misleading Ghanaians. The timeline of promises are as follows:
1. September 4th 2012 — “I have directed an Inter-ministerial committee chaired by the minister with immediate effect…. to ensure that your power supply are not unduly disrupted “While we are assured that there would be resumption of supply from WAGP in next few weeks, we will redouble our efforts to make up the shortfall ourselves by speeding up projects we have been working on. We have galvanized every effort to increase our generating capacity, in order that the minimum demand by our industries is met. By the end of October, we will have an additional 300 megawatts of electricity production that will come online for distribution, and this should greatly reduce the inconvenience of load-shedding.”- At the time, Dumsor was only a few hours per every 72 hours
2. October 4 2012 — Load shedding will soon be a thing of the past- Mahama — Launch of NDC Manifesto “Ghana has a comparative advantage when it comes to production of energy. In the second NDC administration the issue of load shedding will be a thing of the past. It will never happen again. I say this because we have established the foundation to be able to achieve this promise “our vision is to hit 5000 megawatts of power production a day in Ghana by 2015. Currently, Ghana produces a little over 2000 megawatts. Between now and the end of the year it is our hope to put in about 350 more megawatts. Early next year, we expect another 700 megawatts to come into the system and this will make Ghana a net exporter of power.”
3. October 29th 2012 – Load Shedding to End by November 30 – VRA ( Kweku Awotwi, CEO speaking to Joy News)
4. 30 October 2012 – Dumsor Act of God to end by 1st year of next term (2012)– IEA Debate ‘A ship’s anchor cut off the West African Gas Pipeline and so 320 mw taken from the system which has necessitated load shedding at peak hours. That would end by mid November. The pipeline has been repaired, the sea water has been pumped out, the pipeline is being dried for transmission of gas to begin. We are putting in additional thermal plants to ensure that load shedding is a thing of the past. And I have said as President that by the end of the first year of my next term of office, load shedding will be a thing of the past because we are going to add 820 megawatts of new generation into our system’
5. 2nd November 2012 – Off Peak Load shedding to end by 5th November 2012 and load shedding to end by 15th November – Joe Oteng Adjei, Minister of Energy at Press Conference Organized by Ministry of Energy
“The full complement of the fuel required to fully integrate the system should be in the country by November 15, 2012. The first batch of fuel supply is being off-loaded now and we expect it to be ready for use by Monday 5th November, 2012. Our target is to eliminate completely the load shedding program for off- peak from Monday 5th November and that for the peak period whenever the full complement of fuel supply arrives in the country.”
6. 8th November 2012 – Load shedding to end by December – VRA (Kweku Awortwi) at a news conference was organized in collaboration with Ghana Grid Company (GridCo) and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG)
7. 20th February 2013 — Load Shedding will end Mid-Year – Mahama – Swearing in of Council of State
“If the West African gas pipe line comes on in April then Asogli can come back on and that will bring another 220 megawatts immediately and that will give us more than enough. I wish to assure the people of Ghana that we are working very hard to reduce the load shedding”. “I’m as uncomfortable with it as everybody else is and I’ll do everything possible to make sure that we end the load shedding by the middle of the year”.
8. March 2013 –Power crisis to end in June; consumers to pay more – VRA presentation to Parliamentary select committee on energy
9. April 8th 2013 — Never Again Shall Ghana Experience Load Shedding … Off Peak Dumsor ended – Mahama Assures Nation Government will ensure that never again shall we experience the load shedding in the coming years,” he added. President Mahama said this when at the National Prayer and Thanksgiving Service at the Black Star Square, in Accra.
10. April 30 2013 — Load shedding to end first week in May – Energy Ministry statement signed by Edward Bawa “The Ministry can therefore state that based on our current peak load demand and available generation capacity, the Load management programme should end by the first week of May 2013 as promised earlier by the President of the Republic. “
11. December 15, 2013— Energy Crisis is solved – Mahama (at the inauguration of the Revival Restoration Centre of the Assemblies of God Church in Accra) We had the energy crises, which was popularly called ‘Dumsor’ and I was appropriately labelled the “apostle of ‘Dumsor’, ‘Dumsor” and Ghanaians in their usual humour crafted a very interesting greeting that said “Yema mo dumsor oo,” then another responds “Yaa Mahama”. I told them that I was working on the energy crises and we would solve it and I said that when we did, they should remember to use the greeting ‘Yama mo Kania oo’, with a response ‘Yaa Mahama’. However, very often in Ghana we have a very short memory. The energy crises is solved and we don’t remember the darkness we were in. We have put that behind us and we are looking at what the other challenges are,” said the President.
12. May 2014 — Pray for rains to end power crisis -Energy Minister rallies Ghanaians on Good Evening Ghana “What we have to do is to pray that this year the rains will come enough for Bui [dam] to give us at least 200 megawatts”.
13. October 10 2014 — Gov’t taking immediate steps to tackle energy crisis; Gov’t adopts ‘cocktail strategy’ to end power crisis – Energy Ministry, Edward Bawa speaking to Joy News
14. 27 November 2014 — I will reduce the Impact of Dumsor — Mahama – Good Evening Ghana
President John Mahama says he has learnt not to make anymore promises on when the current power crisis facing the country will end. If anything, he said his government is working assiduously to reduce the intensity of what has been described as the dumsor regime.
15. 27th November 2014 — Power Crisis Over In May … Energy Ministry assures nation – Jinapor told Parliament when he represented his Minister to answer questions
16. 16th December — I will End Dumsor — Power Minister, Kwabena Donkor at his vetting
17. 24th December 2014 — Minister Orders VRA to End Dumsor…. Generators to be disconnected within six months (On his maiden visit to the Aboadze Thermal Plant ) “I urge you to put measures in place to end the current power crisis within six months”, he stressed. Dr. Donkor, indicated that he would authorise all power generators at the various VRA bungalows and chief executive officers’ residences to be disconnected if the crisis continued after the six-month period.
He noted that his intended action would make workers of VRA and TiCO experience how it feels to sleep in darkness as being experienced by ordinary Ghanaians.
18. 31st December 2014 — “I will banish Dumsor Forever”- John Mahama
“Now this is the interesting part; it  will be one in which we will banish darkness from our land and put an end to dumsor forever,” he said
19. May 1 2015- Lack of money not cause of ‘dumsor’ – Prez Mahama at May Day Celebrations
“Our current challenge is not because we don’t have money to buy crude oil as some people will want us to believe.
20. “If you want Dumsor to end then you have to PAY HIGHER ELECTRICITY BILLS”…. John Mahama, October 19, 2015 Speaking on Garden City Radio in the Ashanti Region, President Mahama said dumsor would only end if Ghanaians would become realistic and pay more for power supply.
“If we genuinely want reliable, sustainable power then the price will have to go up…that is the reality…if we don’t want any more dumsor then we will have to pay more,” President Mahama said.
21. November 14th 2015 – “Dumsor will end before elections 2016” – Mahama told supporters in Tamale
After promising to resign if dumsor is not over by the end of the year (2015) the Minister of Power now says he was talking about load shedding and not dumsor. We are still trying to understand what he means. The fact remains that four years down the road, dumsor is still present and the government has just announced the arrival of an emergency solution for ten years by contracting a power barge from Turkey with a reported $100 million guarantee for fuel at the same time as VRA has shut down its plants because it cannot purchase fuel. A 225 mw plant like the Karpower plant will cost some $225 million and we will own it – with the unit cost of a megawatt plant at $1million. Under the Karpower deal, we will pay for the power from the barge for the next ten years whether we use it or not. ACEP estimates that based on the capacity charge alone which is 5.6cents per kWh, it will cost Ghana some $1 billion for 10 years. This however excludes the fuel cost of a requirement of 35000 tonnes per month. After 10 years the barge will sail away; when we could have built a 1,000 megawatt plant for ourselves. Power from the barge would also cost at least twice that supplied currently from Takoradi. This really does not make sense.
Dumsor not Technical but Financial
After several denials by Government, it should now be clear to Ghanaians that the current energy crisis is not a result of inadequate installed capacity but rather a lack of financial resources to utilize the installed capacity. Installed capacity in Ghana stands at 2,923.5 mw, with peak system demand at 2,200.0 mw, leaving excess capacity over demand of 723.5 mw
Government is highly indebted to VRA and ECG. Government owes ECG some GHC700 million and owes VRA GHC1.0 billion. VRA, owes its creditors, including Nigeria gas and West Africa Pipeline Company, a total of $1.3 billion. This has compromised the balance sheet of VRA and its ability to import crude oil for the generation of power. Currently VRA has shut down a number of its plants because it is unable to purchase fuel to run them. Ghana owes Nigeria Gas some US$170 million which the country is struggling to pay.
Why is it that after four years of trying, the government has still not found a solution to the problem? The simple answer is that the government has been in denial and has not prioritized this issue. The government has borrowed $3 billion in the last three years from the issue of Eurobonds alone. In total government has borrowed the equivalent at the time of borrowing of $37 billion. How much of these borrowed funds have been used to address the dumsor problem? If this was a priority for government, the necessary allocation of resources would have been made to solve it.
President Mahama’s latest comments in Tamale that Dumsor will end before the 2016 Election and cannot be used for politics exposes the thinking of the government and the President. For the President and his government, Dumsor is not an economic issue but a political issue. They care little about the businesses dumsor has collapsed or the jobs dumsor has collapsed in the past 4 years. Rather, their major concern is what can be used come the election year and what cannot be used. Solving dumsor clearly has not been a priority these past four years and may only become a priority as we get close to the election.