Business News of Saturday, 8 July 2017
Outgoing Country Director for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), Deidra Fair James, has said that the concession arrangement under which the ECG will be put does not preclude its listing on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE), which some stakeholders are calling for.
“The concession and the listing [of ECG] on the exchange are not mutually exclusive. That is an opportunity for the concessionaire to list shares on the Ghana Stock Exchange. It is something that can be looked at in future,” she told the B&FT in an interview on the sidelines of a farewell lunch with the media.
“The government can look at that and say they want to see a roadmap of eventually listing ECG on the stock exchange. So, this is the conversation the government and MiDA can have.”
Both the Public Utilities Workers’ Union (PUWU), which has railed against the concession arrangement, and the Securities and Exchange Commission have suggested that the ailing power distributor be listed on the exchange, to keep its control in Ghanaian hands.
Government, under the MCC Compact II, is seeking to put ECG under private care in a bid to revitalise and make it more efficient.
Six companies have been shortlisted for the Private Sector Participation (PSP) role in the electricity distribution business of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
This follows interest shown by 83 entities, out of which 11 submitted applications for pre-qualification, resulting in the shortlisting of the six.
Bids are expected to be received by October 2017 and a concession agreement signed with the selected concessionaire by March 2018. The ECG PSP transaction is expected to reach financial close by early September 2018.
The listing of a utility under the MCC Compact is not new. In Uganda, the concession company is listed on the East African Country’s stock exchange where over 6000 individuals own shares.
PUWU’s resistance to the compact
The Public Utilities Workers’ Union (PUWU), the umbrella body for all utility workers, has argued, however, that if government settles its indebtedness, ECG would not need to go under private care.
Deidra Fair James argues that although the reforms may seem hard, they will ultimately lead to an efficient and robust utility that meets the demands of the Ghanaian market.
“We recognise that any reform is hard. If you look around the globe and even in our country [USA], anytime you talk about reforming a sector, there is a robust debate, where you have people on both sides of the issue.
So, I appreciate the fact that they want to engage and want to ensure that their voices are heard. But I think, and is important to note, that MiDA and the government have had quite a number of engagements which have included PUWU.”
She added that: “We hope that government is willing to continue to engage to ensure that, again, we do what is best for the country and the people of Ghana.”