MPs oppose deal with W. Africa Gas

Mr. Edward Doe Adjaho,Speaker of Parliament

Mr. Edward Doe Adjaho,Speaker of Parliament

An agreement signed between the government of Ghana and West Africa Gas Limited (BVI) for the supply of 657 Million British Thermal Units (MMBTU) of gas over the next 10 years, is being opposed by some Members of Parliament (MPs).

According to the opposing MPs the contract price, twice the amount on the international market, would cause an unnecessary increase in utility tariffs when approved by the legislature.

The agreement was scheduled for consideration and approval yesterday, but the House deferred it to today, to enable MPs to contribute to it.

The agreement was laid in the House on March 18, and referred to the Joint Committee of Finance and Mines and Energy for consideration and report.

It is for the purchase of gas to complement domestic supply which is not adequate for the existing and upcoming thermal plants.

As an international economic transaction, the agreement requires parliamentary approval in accordance with Article 181 (5) of the Constitution.

The joint committee, after its deliberation on the agreement, presented its report to the plenary yesterday, urging the House to approve it.

But the MP for Bekwai Constituency, Joseph Osei-Wusu, called for the rejection of the agreement because it will not inure to the benefit of Ghanaians.

He said the amount quoted in the contract was too much and, therefore, called on the government to withdraw it and renegotiate it.

Mr. Osei-Wusu warned that the rippling effect of the contract could be felt by all Ghanaians, if approved.

“If we go ahead with this contract, the fuel we use to power our plants will be more expensive than what it is now. This will translate to higher tariffs.”

Mr. Osei-Wusu said, “Already, everybody is complaining about the prices of utility in the country,” and added that the House would worsen the plight of Ghanaian businesses and households if the agreement is approved.

That aside, he said the contract would tie the country to the same gas supplier for the contract period until it was expired.

The MP of Takoradi, Kwabena Okyere Darko, supported the concerns raised by the Bekwai MP.

The House is expected to take a decision on the contract today.

The agreement, which was signed on October 7 last year, was initially for the delivery of 219 MMBTU for five years, but an addendum to the contract later increased the delivery to 657 MMBTU over a ten-year period.

If  approved, an amount of 180 mmscf of gas would be delivered to the country by the West Africa Gas Limited, a company registered in British Virgin Islands, every day.

 

By Yaw Kyei

 

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