The Alliance for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working on Extractives, Anti-Corruption and Good Governance have indicated that challenges in the energy sector have contributed significantly to the current economic crisis facing the country.
According to the group, the inefficiency and loses in the sector cost the country more than GH¢14 billion in 2020 and 2021, with an outstanding debt of about GH¢17.6 billion.
Executive Director of the Centre for Extractive and Development, Africa (CEDA), Mr Samuel Bekoe at a press briefing in Accra to address concerns over the decision to relocate the AMERI plant from Aboadze in the Western Region to Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, said without a handle on debt accumulation and the fiscal challenges, the energy sector would continue to worsen the country’s economic challenges and stifle social investments to fight poverty and inequality.
Addressing the debt accumulation challenge, he said, required the government to be efficient in its decision-making and make changes to ensure system planning that employed sound policy, financial and legal expertise to holistically examine the energy sector’s problems.
He also urged the government to consider other options rather than relocating the AMERU Power Plant and the “unnecessary” cost addition that would be incurred, adding that the cost quoted for the scope of work involved in the relocation of the plant was $25million.
“We are asking government to seek other alternatives to achieve the aim of stabilising power in the middle belt and also forgo the sole sourcing to open up for competitive bidding to save the public purse,” he said.
“We also demand that the Minister of Energy, Matthew Opoku Prempeh constructively engage the public on the core issues rather than divert public attention from them. The minister should re-visit concerns on the need to adopt a competitive bidding process to accommodate local contractors to achieve the most optimal contract cost,” Mr Bekoe added.
In furtherance, he underscored the need for cabinet and parliament to assume critical responsibility for the efficient planning of the energy sector.
BY RAISSA SAMBOU