The anonymity of the local partners in the Meralco-Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) takeover agreement is becoming increasingly unsettling.
The Minority in Parliament, representatives of the Public Utility Workers Union and the African Centre for Energy Policy are all on the lookout for the local partners who are expected to hold 51% stake in the new management agreement signed between the Electricity Company of Ghana and the Philippine’s Energy giants Meralco.
The Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) who has been at the centre of the takeover agreement of ECG announced Meralco as the new managers of Ghana’s power distributors but failed to disclose who the local partners were.
The 51% indigenous ownership was one of the reviews the New Patriotic Party government introduced to the controversial ECG sale agreement after it won the 2016 election.
The takeover agreement signed by ex-president John Mahama had suffered several setbacks prior to the elections with members of the Public Utility Workers Unions resisting the takeover of ECG.
Under the Millennium Challenge Account, Compact II Power agreement Ghana is supposed to receive an amount of $500 million if a new manager takes over ECG.
However, there were far-reaching, sweeping changes in the Power sector which will lead to the privatization of Ghana’s electricity distributor ECG.
On winning power, president Nana Akufo-Addo met stakeholders and agreed on a roadmap for a new concessionaire for ECG.
Instead of the 25-year lease, the prospective owners of ECG, Meralco will now have 20 years within which to own and manage the power distributor.
The president also assured that the workers will no longer be laid off after five years. In what was meant to be the biggest news from the negotiation, the company, when privatized, will have 51% of it owned by Ghanaian private sector.
MiDA shortlisted a number of companies out of which one, Meralco, was handed the rights to manage ECG.
However, MiDA failed to announce who the local partners were.
As if that is not enough, one of the companies disqualified over conflict of interest claims has sued MiDA demanding the nullification of the entire Meralco agreement, an action which will put the implementation of the Meralco agreement in limbo.
The agreement is expected to begin in August 2018.
But former Deputy Power Minister John Jinapor insists there is a major problem at hand with the new deal.
In an interview with Joy News’ Emefa Apawu, the former Minister wondered how Meralco eventually became the new owners when it did not have or disclose its local partners.
According to him, some of the companies shortlisted came with a consortium of Ghanaian ownership except Meralco.
He did not understand how the company which did not have a local partner eventually became the new owners.
He said the local component of the agreement remains the most important aspect and did not understand why MiDA failed to announce who the local partners are.
He said he will table a motion before Parliament and demand answers from the Energy Minister.
He was convinced the Meralco agreement was not in the best interest of the country.
Spokesperson of PUWU Michael Nyantakyi said the 500 million dollars which formed the basis for the sale of ECG for 20 years is not a prudent economic decision.
According to him, even with all its problems, the ECG is able to raise 100million dollars every month and wondered why the government will continue with the sale agreement.
Executive Director of ACEP Ben Boakye also called for more transparency in the transaction.
According to him, Merlaco may or may not have a local partner, a situation he described as not not good enough.