Parliament has approved a budgetary allocation of ¢854,062,706 for the Ministry of Energy for the 2021 financial year.

The breakdown for the expenditure includes Employee Compensation of ¢4.4 million, Goods and Services ¢6.3 million, Capital Expenditure and ABFA ¢76 million, Retained IGF(Energy Commission) ¢68.3 million and Development Partners (DP) Funds ¢679.4 million.

The Chairman of the Committee on Mines and Energy, Mr Samuel Atta Akyea presenting the Committee’s Report, stated that the approval of the amount would go a long way to support the achievement of the sector’s goal of providing secure, safe and reliable supply of energy to promote economic growth of the country.

Mr Akyea also observed that in 2021, the Ministry of Energy planned to undertake various projects to improve its power generation and transmission sub-sector.

Some of these projects include the completion of phase 1B of the Early Power project to bring the installed capacity to 200MW, the ongoing PPA renegotiations, continue works on the Pwalugu Multipurpose Dam, repair/replacement of T3 Gas Turbines.

He said under the power distribution programmes, the Ministry intended to connect 766 towns to the national grid and continue on-going rural electrification projects under the Self-Help Electrification Project (SHEP)-4 and SHEP-5 across the country.

According to him, as part of the Ministry’s effort at conserving energy, a total of 5 million LED bulbs (5W, 9W and 13W) would be distributed to Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).

Additionally, the Ministry plans to install street lights on an estimated minimum of 300km stretch of roads and streets in some selected Metropolises, Municipalities and Districts across the country.

Mr Akyea also observed that out of the total budget of GH¢685,766,327 approved for the Ministry in 2020 financial year, a substantial amount of GH¢441.03 million representing 64.3 percent was expected to be sourced from Development Partners (DP). At the end of the fiscal year under review, only GH¢55.13 million, representing 12.5 percent of the total amount had been released by the DP.

He further noted that the Energy Commission in 2020 received only GH¢30.05 million out of of GH¢77.61 million, representing 38.7 percent of the approved budget.

He said the inadequacy of the funds released prevented the Ministry from undertaking most of its capital projects, particularly in the area of power generation, transmission and distribution, culminating in low performance to increasing national electricity access rate by only 0.19 percent.

The Ranking Member on Energy, Mr Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, in seconding the motion, stated that some of the major concerns they raised regarding the energy sector is that government was unable to invest in capital expenditure projects especially in the power sector.

He said the reasons why the Ministry of Energy could not undertake most of its capital projects was that they were relying on donor partners to fund their programmes.

He therefore advised the government to make the Ministry a priority, adding that energy is at the heart of the economy.