Business News of Monday, 23 January 2017
Source: Graphic online
The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has called on the new administration to conduct an audit of the country’s power sector.
The audit, the ACEP believed, would help ascertain the sector’s robustness to meet the country’s growing power need.
Addressing the media on issues the new government must pay attention to in the energy sector, the Deputy Executive Director of ACEP, Mr Benjamin Boakye, said the current government promised to conduct a technical audit of the power sector infrastructure, develop and implement a 10-year master plan.
“We urge the government to fulfil its manifesto promise to conduct a technical audit of the power sector infrastructure and develop and implement a 10-year master plan. This audit is relevant to ascertain the efficiency and robustness of the power sector infrastructure to serve our need for a stable power supply,” he said.
Tackle the debts transparently
Mr Boakye also urged the government to transparently tackle the debt of the power sector agencies, explaining that the government should immediately set in motion accelerated programmes to settle the debt of the utilities to create healthy institutions to manage the delivery of power.
“We hereby remind the government of its promise to develop and implement an energy sector financial restructuring and recovery plan with liquidity management mechanisms for the utility companies,” he said.
The government, he also explained, must let the public know how much had accrued from the energy sector levy which was instituted by the past government and its utilisation so far.
“The government should, in that process, let the public know for how long they have to pay the levy so that the relief from payment of the levy can be anticipated and tracked,” he said.
Reduce taxes on tariff
According to Mr Boakye, electricity tariff in Ghana is among the highest in the world and the highest in the sub-region and this affects the competiveness of Ghanaian businesses and consumers in general.
The high taxes, he said, were occasioned by the imposition of taxes and levies and the procurement of expensive generation plants, and the translating effect had been the stagnation of demand and resultant poor industrial growth.
This calls for critical examination of the factors affecting tariffs; taxes and expensive generation options so that some relief could be passed on to consumers.
“We also urge the government to fulfil its promise to reduce taxes on electricity tariffs to provide immediate relief to households and industry. The 17.5 per cent VAT on industrial consumers should, as a matter of urgency, be removed to improve the cash flow of businesses and their productivity,” he said.