President John Dramani Mahama yesterday said government will go ahead with the concession of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), in spite of the opposition the planned private sector participation was receiving from some workers of the company.
According to him, the concession, “is in the supreme interest of the state” and meant to transform the sector so as to give the citizenry a better service.
“The world makes progress based on risks, so we have to prepare our minds for that change if it becomes necessary”, he said at the opening session of a three-day Mobile and ICT Expo (MOBEX) in Accra.
He likened the opposition to that of the deregulation of the telecommunications sector two decades ago, when he was the Communications Minister, and urged persons against the move to brace up for it.
“Today I can see a similar development. We have a very inefficient downstream distribution system on the electricity and power front. We are trying to do reforms and those chimeras are being drawn out again that electricity is so important and must be monopolised by the state so why are you allowing the private sector in’.
“But we have had this system for years which is not working, and if it’s not working, you fix it, and you fix it by taking risks. It is a risk we took when we deregulated the telecoms sector and today the benefits are there for all to see.”
The risk government took in the telecoms sector, he noted, had paid off and it was important private sector participation was allowed in the operation of the power distribution company for the desired efficiency Ghanaians crave for.
Mr. Mahama said arguments of those who kicked against deregulation of the telecom sector were that the sector was very important and key to national security and for that matter private participation shouldn’t be allowed.
But on the contrary, the sector, he noted, has been beneficial to the economy and has created more jobs than when it was monopolised by the state.
“Nobody knew it would turn out like this, but look at us so many years on. The world makes progress based on risks so we have to prepare our minds for that change, if it becomes necessary.”
President Mahama, was apparently responding to demands by the Public Utilities Workers’ Union (PUWU) who argued that the planned concession won’t provide the needed reforms to the ECG.
In their view, the investor’s interest was to make profit and not thinking of the plight of consumers who include the poor.
Also they feared that rural electrification would be affected by the move; local content participation could be affected because the investor would source for cheap materials from outside the country.
At a press conference in Accra on Monday, PUWU lobbied government to resource the company, address the leadership challenge of the company by appointing dynamic and competent leaders with fixed tenure of office, and provide them with the same conditions with which the private sector workers would work with.
By Julius Yao Petetsi & Gloria Bribi