Campaign Coordinator of the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), says the credibility of the of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) concession under the Millennium Challenge Account is questionable and should not be accepted by government.
Dr Steve Manteaw said no amount of damage control will justify the decision to put the ECG on concession.
Speaking at a forum organised by the Coalition of Stakeholders on the concession, he said “I feel uncomfortable at attempts to try to repair the damage by making recommendations as to why or how it can be improved, I think we should be rejecting it outright.”
Ghana in 2014 signed the Power Compact with the United States of America acting through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), an independent United States government agency.
The Compact will provide Ghana with a grant sum of $498,200,000 to improve the performance of Ghana’s power sector, unlock the country’s economic potential, create jobs, and reduce poverty.
About US$350 million of the grant is being invested in ECG to make the country’s power distributor operationally and financially more efficient.
The Compact is being implemented by the Government of Ghana through the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA).
However, since the compact was signed, workers of the ECG have demonstrated against the decision they believe will render them jobless after five years.
The workers believe the power distributor is capable of handling its affairs if given the needed support.
Dr Manteaw holds this view. He said the only reason the ECG has not been able to operate and make meaningful profit is the inefficiency and the lack of accountability by the various managers.
For him, the solution to these problems does not lie in the giving out the ECG on concession.
He said “we have done it before, it did not work. As I listened to various aspects of the concession, I feel I have heard it before. This is no different from the Aqua Vitens Rand contract.
“We warned that it will not succeed and it did not. Luckily for us, it was limited to only five years, so we had the opportunity of cutting our losses and getting out of that bad deal,” he said
Since that was done, he noted, the Ghana Water Company is thriving under Ghanaian management.
To those who chastise the ECG for being inefficient, Dr Manteaw said, “we as a people and the government are the inefficient ones because we have not given the ECG the space to operate and to be efficient.”
“…I have always said that if the so called international investor is that efficient, let him come and operate ECG under the conditions that the Ghanaian managers operate ECG and let’s see who is efficient.”
He said if government is bent on making ECG work, then it could hand it over to Ghanaians through the stock exchange.
This he said will enable it to raise capital which could be used to make investments, and “once you have money you can buy the best and most efficient technology that will help you to detect power theft and it is because we do not have the money that is why we are unable to deal with the problem.”
Dr Manteaw stressed that the concession should be rejected because the ECG is a strategic national asset, it can be managed by Ghanaians.
“It is the politician that get in the way, let’s get them out of the way, give it to Ghanaians, float on the stock exchange and we shall see remarkable results.”