Confusion rocks NDC MPs over US$1.5 billion GNPC-Genser Deal

October 11, 2022

The Herald, has picked up reports of confusion amongst the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament (MPs) on the Select Committee of Mines and Energy, over the US$1.5 billion gas deal between the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and Genser Energy Ghana Limited, a Ghanaian-American registered company.

GNPC, buys gas at US$6.08/MMBtu from ENI and sells to its favourite, Genser, at US$2.79/MMBtu, which would further be discounted to US$1.79/MMBtu in an amended agreement for 16 years, creating a direct subsidy of US$1.5 billion.

Genser, is owned and run by Nana Osae Nyampong and Baafour Asiamah-Adjei, the father and brother, respectively of the Akuapem North MP, Nana Ama Dokua Asiamah-Adjei of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) who is also a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry in the Akufo-Addo government.

This paper’s sources on the Committee, revealed that the NDC MPs, are so divided that most of them do not see anything wrong with the preferential treatment Genser is getting from the GNPC at the expense of Ghanaian taxpayers, especially electric power consumers.

Indeed, notable members of the side are out trying to convince people to support it. Their conducts have left room for speculation.

For whatever reason, while other thermal power producers are paying the required market rate of $6.08/MMBtu for the gas they get from suppliers, Genser pays GNPC a paltry US$1.79/MMBtu for the gas it gets from the Corporation.

Genser, has been getting the gas for electric power generation which it sells to the mining companies. The Volta River Authority (VRA) used to supply power to the mines, but can’t do so now because it has been muzzled out of the competition by Genser as a result of the miserable sum it pays to GNPC per their special arrangement.

Out of the 18 members on the Mines and Energy Committee, The Herald, has counted nine of them as coming from the minority NDC side of the House.

They include, John Abdulai Jinapor, who is the Ranking Member, Sowah Adjoa Della, who is the Deputy Ranking Member, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, Kwabena Donkor, Wisdom Gidisu, Abdul-Rashid Hassan Pelpuo, Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, Edward Abambire Bawa and Naser Toure Mahama.

Strangely, it is only John Abdulai Jinapor, the MP for Yapei Kusawgu Constituency in the Savanna Region, who has been at the forefront of speaking against the GNPC-Genser deal and its implications for the energy sector, as well as the Ghanaian economy.

The Herald is informed that while others don’t know or lack appreciation of what is happening as far as the deal is concerned, some are unable to talk, because of their friendship with some government elements at the Ministry of Energy, which supervises GNPC. Some are also friends of Genser. These associations have blurred their judgments.

But there is a third group of NDC MPs, which is secretly defending the deal and busily begging people on behalf of the company that it has to be supported because Genser is an indigenous Ghanaian company. This is irrespective of the colossal profit that the company is making at the back of Ghanaians due to the outrageous agreement.

It was this confusion amongst the NDC MPs which led to the letter from the Chairman of the Committee on Mines and Energy, Samuel Atta Akyea sent to The Herald, threatening to cite the newspaper for contempt of parliament for reporting on the matter which the committee says it is investigating.

Lawyer Atta Akyea, was said to have been livid at how the NDC MPs were forceful in their demand that the committee should write to the newspaper, ordering it to cease every publication on the matter, because according to them, it was “prejudicial”.

The chairman of the Committee, The Herald had learnt wanted to invite the managers of the newspaper for a friendly discussion on the publications, but the NDC MPs, shockingly kicked against the invitation, claiming it would later be reported by the newspaper as an attempt to bribe the journalists, hence the threat was the most viable option.

The Herald has since picked up a report that the Chairman is determined to get to the bottom of the GNPC-Genser deal, hence keeping an open mind hoping to correct whatever went wrong.
Meanwhile, Gold Fields Ghana, on September 22, 2022 reported a visit by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Mines and Energy to its Tarkwa mine for “a tour of the Genser power plant, which has been pivotal in meeting our Tarkwa mine’s electricity demand”.

Some people have questioned the essence of the trip by the MPs, as well as who sponsored it, explaining that documents on the deal are in Accra and all that the Committee has to do is to ensure that it was reviewed to get Genser join the by paying the market rate and not the special rate which has been cloaked as industrial rate.
On its official facebook page the Gold Fields Ghana had written “last week, the Parliamentary Select Committee on Mines and Energy visited our #Tarkwa mine to assess work done by our business partner, Genser Energy, to provide us with sustainable power for our mining operations”.

It said “our General Manager for #Tarkwa mine, Stephen Osei-Bempah, briefed the Committee about our operations and ESG priorities, highlighting our decarbonisation plan, which aims at reducing our total carbon emissions by 30% by 2030.

“He also shared success stories about our socio-economic development projects and programmes in our host communities, funded by the Gold Fields Ghana Foundation. The Committee members were also given a tour of the Genser power plant, which has been pivotal in meeting our Tarkwa mine’s electricity demand.

Meanwhile, as part of the Committee’s investigation, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC), Dr Ben K. D. Asante ,revealed that he had rejected Genser’s demand to have the gas sold outside the market rate, insisting that when Genser was taking the gas from his outfit, it paid market rate.

The Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP) and IMANI-Africa have in the latest write-up on the deal said that “the operations of GNPC raise significant debt concerns. Cumulatively, the Corporation’s actions could cost Ghana between $5 billion and $6 billion in the short to medium term, adding “in 2022 alone, the Corporation programmes to make a loss of $195.25 million.

“While it shows loss-making ventures in its work programme, the Corporation seeks to hide profitable businesses offshore. A case in point is the 7 percent interest in Jubilee and TEN fields hidden in the Cayman Islands through Jubilee Oil Holdings Limited (JOHL) and seeking to collateralize the asset for loans.

“GNPC buys gas at $6.08/MMBtu and sells to its favourite, Genser, at $2.79/MMBtu, which would further be discounted to $1.79/MMBtu in an amended agreement for 16 years, creating a direct subsidy of $1.5 billion.

“According to GNPC, Accounting for Genser subsidy means the cost of gas for the market should be $7.9, not $5.9 as approved by PURC. This creates a gap of $3.6 billion to the sector if PURC does not increase the tariff to punish other consumers.

“GNPC enjoys significant government support and Parliamentary oversight failure to perpetuate these loss-making adventures. It is even worrying to note the complicity of the Ministry of Finance, which is currently in talks with the IMF for a bail-out far less than the orchestrated losses of between $5 billion and $6 billion from GNPC’s decisions. It tells why some have little faith in an IMF deal if we get one.

More to come!

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