PRESIDENT John Mahama has said that government’s decision to allow private participation in concessioning the distribution of power at the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) should not be misconstrued as privatization of the nation’s flagship power distributor.
“Government has no intention of privatizing ECG, ECG is still a 100 per cent government-owned entity and will remain a 100 per cent government-owned entity,” he emphasized.
President Mahama was inaugurating the country’s first private electricity distribution sub-station at the Tema Free Zones enclave yesterday.
The 35 million-dollar substation, which belongs to the Enclave Power Company (EPC), will be distributing power to industrial and commercial customers operating within the free zones enclave.
President Mahama stressed that the move to allow private participation in concessioning the distribution of power was part of the reforms being carried out at the ECG.
He pointed out that nothing in the country’s regulations stops private sector participation in managing concessions to distribute power to customers and giving them efficient service than had been done in the past.
The President indicated that everywhere in the world, private sector participation in many areas hitherto monopolized by government was being encouraged, leading to increased investment from the financial sector and the capital markets, aside introducing efficiency in the operations in those sectors.
“Power can be no different, and therefore, when people try to misinform the nation and the public by saying that our carrying out the reforms in terms of allowing private sector participation in concessioning the distribution of power, by that we are privatizing ECG, it is absolutely untrue,” President Mahama stressed.
Touching on the power supply challenges confronting the country, President Mahama noted that both industrial and domestic activities were being affected but reassured that government was working tirelessly to address the challenges sooner.
“We are making progress in overcoming the power gap,” he said, noting that “increasingly, power is being fed into the grid and over the last few weeks, at least some 200 Megawatts have been fed into the system.
We will continue to increase power that is being fed into the system until the gap is eliminated completely by the end of the year,” President Mahama said, stressing that he remained committed to the pledge to fix the power supply deficit.
He said government’s long-term strategy for industry was to make cheaper-based load power available for its operations, saying that the sector ministry was accordingly pursuing the introduction of clean coal into the power generation mix.
That, he said, was geared towards making industries more competitive to create more jobs in accordance with the government’s agenda for transformation.
Mr. Mahama commended the EPC for the strides it was making over the years in terms of distribution and sale of electricity and gave the assurance that government would continue to partner the private sector to ensure the reliable and sustainable supply of power for the development of the country.
Meanwhile President Mahama has assured the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) and Alluworks of the government’s support to ensuring that the two firms reclaim their former glories and operate at optimum capacities.
During separate meetings with the management and workers of the companies at Tema yesterday, President Mahama noted that power supply was critical to the operations of the firms.
Consequently, he announced that directives had been issued to the effect that as soon as the power supply situation stabilizes, excess power should be given to the two industries in order that they expand production.
“We currently are supplying you with some power at great cost to government but as soon as we have more power coming in, we will mix in more legacy hydro so that you can get power at a cheaper cost, because you are in competition with other smelters all over the world,” he said.
In line with the vision of the nation’s premier President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Mr. Mahama pledged to revive defunct state industries to generate jobs and catalyse an industrialization drive in the country.
He noted that already moves were underway to bring back the Komenda Sugar Factory while the Kumasi Shoe Factory was already back in business, producing quality shoes for the security agencies.
In another development, the President stopped over at Ashaiman and Klagon to inspect road projects in the municipality.
By Samuel Nuamah