Deputy Finance Minister, Mona Quartey, is confident that private sector participation in the operations of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) will lead to greater efficiency and financial independence.
The deputy minister, who virtually described the workers of the state-run utility company as “inefficient,” said the private investor would inject efficiency into the operations of ECG.
ECG, with assets worth over $6 billion, is set to be divested to a private investor as a condition for Ghana government to access $500 million Millennium Challenge Compact (MCC) funds from the US government under the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
Many people and groups have, however, kicked against the decision.
The Public Utility Workers’ Union and Public Services Workers Union are strongly against an ECG privatization.
In a document sighted by Joy News, the groups said that private sector participation could spell doom for rural electrification because the MCC does not consider it profitable. They insist that the power distributor’s problem is not its inability to attract funding, but failure of government to pay its bills, revealing that government’s indebtedness to the company stands at GH¢1.2 billion.
However, speaking on Joy FM’s ‘Super Morning Show’ programme on Friday, Ms Quartey said challenges facing ECG, particularly the collection of bills and technical losses, would be addressed once the private sector started operation.
“Over the years, we have slacked and had problems with efficiency, and I know that sometimes that is why people get a little irritated when we want to increase the tariffs to be able to cover cost.
“This time, government is looking at private sector participation, therefore, ECG’s operations have to be efficient and it is for this reason that we are now looking at private sector participation in the operations and management, not the ownership, so that they can build correctly and collect the revenue and use it to pay the VRA which has been starved of money, pay GRIDCo which carries the power,” she said.
She believes every player in the power value chain must be paid, however, because ECG has not been efficient in billing and collecting revenue that has not happened.