The Minister of Energy, Hon. Boakye Agyarko has revealed that, the government has infused new dynamism into the energy sector, hence the total end to the infamous and dreaded ‘DUMSOR’ which crippled the Ghanaian economy for years, eventually became a major campaign issue during the 2016 electioneering period.
According to the Minister, prudent management and innovation have been employed to ensure efficiency in the total administration of the sector.
Speaking on the floor of Parliament as part of his contribution to the debate on the 2018 Budget Statement, Hon. Agyarko indicated that, the government has increased rural electricity availability in terms of power stability from 28.7 hours in 2016 to 156.47 hours in 2017, whilst that of urban availability increased from 24.61 hours to 145.54 hours.
He added that, government was able to achieve this due to the employment of creative intellect and brand new ways of doing things.
He said, installed capacity under the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) government was over 3000 megawatt, but availability was a problem because of poor financial management of the sector.
Adding that, the problem in the energy sector has not been technical, but rather financial. He said there were thermal plants which were sitting idle because they could not be fuelled.
One of the things government had to do was to review the pricing regime of the sector and made it more prudent and economical, butbunder the NDC, price of gas from Ghana was expensive than that of Nigeria. He indicated.
He further revealed that, the immediate past NDC government charged the cost of four (4) helicopters amounting to One Hundred and Fifty million Dollars ($150m) purchased for the Ghana Armed Forces to Gas price, increasing Ghana’s gas price by $0.55 per unit.
Stating that, the government has negotiated the gas tariff from the previous $4.5 under the immediate past NDC government to a low $1.60 and even further down to $1.20, due to government’s ability to fund part of the western interconnect.
There are lots of policy initiatives through which the energy sector would be reformed to perform better. He reiterated.
Cabinet, He said, has approved a number of policy interventions including the cash fall levy, the electricity market oversight panel, the restructuring of the Volta River Authority (VRA), the invitation of the private sector into the distribution system and the formation of a street lighting policy with new functionality.
Government spent Three Hundred Million Ghana Cedis (300m) on street lighting alone in the previous administration, a phenomenon both the Ministry and the Energy Commission sees as unacceptable. Hon. Boakye Agyarko added.
Story: Frederick E. AgAggrey