General News of Wednesday, 1 March 2017
It is unthinkable for Ghanaians to want President Nana Akufo-Addo and his government to change things overnight after inheriting a messed up economy and a heavily indebted energy sector from the Mahama administration, Ablekuma Central MP Ebenezer Nartey, has said.
“I don’t expect you and Ghanaians [to think] that with Nana Addo being sworn into office on 7 January, then the next day things will change,” Mr Nartey told Moro Awudu on the Executive Breakfast Show on Class91.3FM on Wednesday, 1 March, adding that today is Nana Akufo-Addo’s 53rd day in office.
In the wake of the current erratic power supply situation, the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has been hitting hard at the Akufo-Addo government for the return of dumsor under his young administration.
Mr Nartey, however, said: “At the time that we came into government, how much does the Energy Ministry owe Nigeria, owe Ivory Coast, and owe other companies as well.”
The lawmaker’s view ties in with that of President Akufo-Addo, who told parliament on Tuesday, 21 February during his maiden state of the nation address that the Mahama administration left behind a badly indebted energy sector.
“The attempts by the previous government to resolve the dumsor crisis have led to a gargantuan debt overhang in the sector,” Nana Akufo-Addo told the legislature.
“We have inherited a heavily indebted energy sector, with the net debt reaching $2.4 billion as of December 2016,” the president said, adding: “I have to point out the alarming fact that $800 million of this debt is owed to local banks, which threatens their stability.”
“Huge indebtedness of the energy sector constitutes the single major hurdle to Ghanaians enjoying reliable and affordable electricity supply. The cost of energy destroys businesses large and small. It destroys jobs. It compounds poverty. The current state of the energy situation in our country is unsatisfactory,” he said.
As part of fixing the problem, the president said his government has begun “to develop a national electricity masterplan, which will also explore the benefits of listing VRA and GRIDCO on the Stock Exchange”.
“My government will enforce the procurement law. We will insist on open and competitive bidding for power capacity procurement.”