The Minister of Energy, Dr. Joe Oteng-Adjei says although the former government made close to GH¢720 million from the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) Debt Recovery Levy, there was no indication that the money was used to retire the debt.

Currently, he said, the total debt owed TOR by government stands at GH¢1.l4 billion, mainly due to under recovery.

Addressing the media at the first Meet-The-Press series of Professor Mills’ administration, Dr. Oteng-Adjei said the government would ensure that money or resources from such levy were used to retire the debt and recapitalise the refinery to perform better.

He said there was the need for TOR to expand its storage facility so as to meet the demands for petroleum products in the country.

The Minister said the government would not interfere in the pricing of petroleum products, but it would also not sit down unconcerned when the price “is beyond the reach of the ordinary person.”

“As social democrats, we will not shirk our responsibility and will move in to help the people,” he stated.

The Minister said the government will need about ten billion dollars over the next five years to revamp the power sector and improve on the universal access to electricity.

He said the money would be required to finance the numerous initiatives in the energy sector, including oil and gas activities which alone require over 5.5 billion dollars.

Dr Oteng-Adjei pledged the government’s commitment to continue to inject funds, when available, into the sector.

Nevertheless, he said, a major policy shift would be to encourage the energy sector institutions to raise “a substantial portion of their capital investment requirements on their own without recourse to government”.

He said the government had requested the sector agencies, particularly the Volta River Authority (VRA), Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCO), the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) to raise financing from commercial loans and other private sector financing arrangements to balance their sheets.

The Minister assured the nation of continuous power supply and said the ministry was assiduously working towards a system where the country , would have a sustainable and reliable power system.

“The ministry’s involvement in the development and management of the energy section will be guided by the virtues of transparency in all dealings and transaction, commitment to job creation and local content in all energy endeavours and environmental responsiveness in all activities in the sector,” he said.

Present at the press briefing were all the heads of the various agencies under the ministry.

Source: The Ghanaian Times