The Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) has assured staff of Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the general public that the consultative process on government’s decision to proceed with a long-term concession arrangement for ECG is not over.
Responding to a press statement recently issued by the Public Workers Utility Workers Union (PUWU) of the TUC on the Private Sector Participation in ECG under the Second Compact of the Millennium Challenge Corporation of USA and the Government of Ghana, MiDA expressed its willingness to engage the union and staff of ECG and other stakeholders in talks to address various issues.
“It is also not the case, as alleged in the press statement of PUWU that high tariffs will result from the concession arrangement. On the contrary, improved performance and reduction in the current losses of ECG should facilitate progressive lowering of tariffs.
“The Government of Ghana has gone to great extent to ensure that the jobs of all ECG workers are duly protected for a period of five years. It is therefore regrettable that PUWU continues to allege that there will be job losses. The reality is that the concession arrangement will create more jobs in the power sector. An improved distribution system and a credible distribution system operator in the form of the ECG PSPS provider will also facilitate the further expansion of power generation in Ghana which will result in more reliable power supply, industrial expansion and increased employment opportunities for all Ghanaians.”
Noting that local participation at both the operational and equity levels were integral to the tender, it said Ghanaian equity participation, which might commence at a determined minimum, would be required to increase over time “so that Ghanaians are in increasing control of the company.”
“Government has also approved employee share ownership in the future operations of ECG. Far from there being “danger/threat to local content” as claimed in the PUWU press statement, government has ensured that all bidders recognize these priorities and comply with them.
It stated that the statements made by PUWU regarding foreign investors are, unfortunately, not consistent with the clear recognition, not only by various governments since independence but also by Ghanaians generally, that there is value in attracting foreign investment as part of our development agenda. “It is true that profits are repatriated by foreign investors but this is done in accordance with the laws and regulations which prevail in the country and cannot be a reason to demand that government today should not proceed with plans to attract foreign investment to improve our electricity distribution system.
Staff of ECG has been calling for a review of government’s decision to cede the power distribution company to a foreign investor since the plan was announced.
However, MiDA has indicated that the planned concession was in line with the Power Sector Reform Programme which was adopted by Ghana in 1994.
“The ECG Financial and Operational Turnaround Project also recognizes the need for significant investment in the power distribution infrastructure and the operational systems of ECG. It’s in response to that need that over $350 million out of the $498.2 million for the compact programme has been allocated to ECG projects.”
By Samuel Boadi