Gov’t, PUWU tussle over MCC compact II will affect ECG – ACEP warns

Gov’t, PUWU tussle over MCC compact II will affect ECG – ACEP warns
Source: Ghana | | Austin Brako-Powers |
Date: 02-05-2017 Time: 01:05:11:pm
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

Energy think-tank, Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) is warning the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) might be negatively affected if government delays with the implementation of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC)’s compact II programme.

ACEP wants the government to meet with the Public Utility Workers Union (PUWU) to resolve outstanding pertinent issues over the agreement.

ACEP's Executive Director, Benjamin Boakye told Joy News Tuesday, a further delay of the compact II programme will erode efforts to retool ECG to deliver quality service.

“We have a September deadline to ensure that the arrangement goes through and it is so short a time, so the earlier the stakeholders came together to resolve the pertinent issues there, the better for us,” he said.

The implementation of the Ghana Power Compact agreement signed between the MCC and Ghana government in 2014 has stalled following some misunderstanding.

The Compact was to open the country’s energy market to independent power producers (IPP) and to improve the management of ECG.

Former Finance Minister, Seth Terkper signing the agreement in Washington as former President John Mahama and former US Secretary of State, John Kerry looked on.

This came after the country was hard hit by an erratic power supply that plunged the nation into what came to be known as dumsor.

Many local businesses collapsed because their owners could not afford to fuel generators to power production, experts have said.

The compact was to invest an amount of $350 million out of the total $498.2 million into the revitalization of ECG but it hit a snag after PUWU criticised the agreement for lack of transparency amongst others.

Some ECG workers demonstrating over the concession agreement

The Union said government’s decision to privatise the company because of so-called inefficiency is ill-informed because the failure of state institutions to pay debts owed ECG for power consumed is the main problem facing the power distributor.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in his May Day celebration speech Monday assured no worker of the company will be laid off under a renegotiated agreement.

He told the workers who had gathered at the Black Star Square his government had taken a second look at the agreement to eliminate clauses that could lead to job losses.

PUWU General Secretary, Michael Nyantakyi told Joy News the ECG workers were still not comfortable with the arrangement.

He maintained PUWU wants government to consider listing ECG on the Ghana Stock Exchange to raise the needed funds instead of giving it out on concession under the MCC programme.

But ACEP said the “back and forth” between government and PUWU is dragging the arrangement expected to inject some vibrancy into ECG.

Mr Boakye cautioned that rather than “talking about the big pointers, government should get the stakeholders together.”

He said an agreement with a broader framework on how to attract private capital into ECG has to be reached in the coming days.