New AMERI idea good for Ghana -Energy Ministry

Mr. Boakye Agyarko, Minister of Energy

Mr. Boakye Agyarko, Minister of Energy

The Communication Specialist at the Ministry of Energy, Nana Kofi Oppong Damoah, has dismissed claims that the renegotiated Africa Middle East Resources Investment (AMERI) Group power deal was worse than the original agreement signed by the previous government in 2015.

In the view of Mr. Damoah, the renegotiated deal took into account the interest of Ghana.

Government is seeking to terminate the controversial US$510 million AMERI deal signed by the John Mahama led administration, at the height of the power crisis that engulfed the country, which the current administration said was overpriced by some US$150 million.

In this regard, government wants to bring in a third party player, Mylitineos International Trading Company which has agreed to pay off AMERI and in turn operate the plant for 15 years.

The deal, which government said would save Ghana US$405 million over the period has been repudiated by the Senior Staff Association of the Volta River Authority, the operators of the plant, Energy sector tink tank, the African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) and the Minority in Parliament, which all claim that the renegotiated deal would shortchange Ghana.

Howeveerresponding to the concerns raised by critics of the new deal which is awaiting parliamentary approval, on Metro TV’s ‘Good Morning’ Programme, Nana Damoah justified the decision by government to amend the AMERI deal insisting that Ghana would be the ultimate beneficiary.

“If you look at the original AMERI deal very well, government said it will assume 9 cents per kilowatts per hour of the cost, the VRA and ECG were supposed to pay 6 cents per kilowatts per hour but government has never paid that 9 cents, so in actual fact, the country is behind on payments by about $92,000,000,” he explained.

That, he claimed, puts Ghana at risk as the AMERI plant could be shut down at any time.

“If they decide to also turn off the plant at this current moment great instability and others that it will cost a serious threat to ourselves,”he said.

According to Nana Damoah, the renegotiated deal sought to “take the Republic of Ghana out of the dangers that it has been exposed to in the original Ameri deal and ensure that we have a more stable and secure system that one company cannot get up at will and decide to mess up as and when they chose to”.

Figures contained in the contract, Nana Damoah said were computed on some assumptions that did not materialise, hence the need for government to renegotiate the contract.

At the time the 2015 was signed, he explained, “contractual construction was made, there was a timeline put on it assuming Ghana will make $102,000,000 every year but we’ve never been able to make the $102,000,000 every year”.

He disclosed that government at a point considered terminating the deal but “if the country decides to terminate the deal they will have to pay $370,000,000”, an amount he noted, could provide infrastructure for the Free Senior High School programme.

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