Deputy Communications Minister has allayed fears of an outright sale of the Electricity Corporation of Ghana.
Felix Kwakye Ofosu says government’s decision to allow private sector participation in the electricity distribution sector is fundamentally different from the sale of the company as happened to Ghana Telecom under the erstwhile New Patriotic Party.
Speaking on Joy FM’s news analysis program, Newsfile, Saturday, Mr Kwakye Ofosu said 30 concessionaires have so far approached government with proposals to take over aspects of ECG operation.
He says government is yet to select any of the concessionaires and sign a contract that will allow the private investor manage some aspect of the ECG operations.
He was not clear exactly which area of operations the investor will manage but was emphatic however that the equipment and assets of ECG will still remain the properties of ECG even if the contract with the investor comes into force.
The debate to, or not to privatize the ECG, has been longstanding with several governments playing coy over the matter.
President John Mahama however triggered the debate this week when he sought to justify some amount of private sector involvement in the operations of the ECG.
The president cited the protestations that came with the liberalisation or privatization of the telecom sector in the early 90s but said the bold decision taken at the time to allow private sector participation has proven to be a wise decision.
He said “there is inefficiency at the downstream distribution of the electricity sector. The system is not working. if it’s not working you fix it by taking risk. If you are willing to take risk you will not make progress.”
Critics against the privatization of ECG have been quick in chiding the president for supposedly taking the easier option.
They would rather the government pays the debts it owed to ECG and signing a better performance contract with managers of the company.
On Newsfile, Felix Kwakye Ofosu said government has already taken a decision to allow private sector participation and the justification for that is clear and beyond debate.
“There are some inefficiencies in the operations of ECG. Their service delivery is not up to scratch; something has to be done,” he stated.
While he understood the concerns of the ECG workers who are protesting the privatization of the company, he said, the government will seek the larger interest of Ghanaians and not a section of Ghanaians.
“When GT was sold people lost their jobs, but is the company not functioning?” he said adding he is yet to hear any argument that undermines the need for private sector participation in the electricity distribution sector.
A New Patriotic Party Member of Parliament for Bosumtwe, Simon Osei Mensah says concessionaire is still part of privatization and wondered what the deputy minister was talking about by creating the impression as though concessionaire was alien to privatisation.
He said the country will be exposed to high risk if the concessionaire is just as inefficient as the current managers of ECG.
He would rather alternative measures are considered in resolving the inefficiencies at ECG.