Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah
Government has clearly indicated plans to offer the management of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to a private company in the hope of bringing efficiency into ECG?s operations.
Government however maintained that all assets of the power distributor will remain government property under the arrangement.
The State has agreed to a proposal for private sector participation in the distribution of power as a condition for the country to access US$535,565,000.00 from the US government, which is the second tranche of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Fund.
The Minister for Energy and Petroleum, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah gave the assurance that lessons from previous partnership engagements between government and the private sector will serve as guidance for the ongoing discussions to improve efficiency in the energy sector.
He noted that the distribution sector is the most problematic part of the country?s energy supply system, necessitating the decision to devote close to 70% of the MCC compact to that sector.
?It is indeed the weakest link,? Mr. Kofi Buah stated on the Super Morning Show, Tuesday.
?We are going to be sensitive to local conditions and promote local participation at the ownership and operational levels and ensure all key stakeholders are involved in this decision-making. That?s the way forward,? he stressed.
He said under the proposed management service contract, government ?will make sure that Ghanaian participation is critical? at all levels of the decision-making process.
Energy expert, Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby lauded the move, noting that it will help improve efficiency in the energy sector.
The Chief Policy Analyst at the Ghana Institute of Public Policy Options (GIPPO) said Ghanaians must shun being emotional about the initiative because it is in the interest of the consumer that power is delivered without interruptions.
It will help, among others, address the issues of technical and commercial losses, which the ECG has been struggling to deal with, Dr. Wereko-Brobby observed.
?There is no doubt that the distribution sector is very inefficient?so let?s not get emotional that ECG is going into privatization?If there are services that ECG is offering that can be done better by the private sector then let?s go for it?.
The former Chief Executive of Volta River Autority however cautioned government against meddling in the commercial operations of the company.
?We need to limit government interference in the running of commercial operations of the private sector then I think that will be a very good thing,? Dr. Wereko-Brobby remarked.
Edmund Agyemang, a member of Power Generation Conference fears the partnership would be futile if the fundamental issues of suitable planning are left unattended to.
Mr. Agyemang believed concerns relating to power theft by some consumers are still persistent particularly in the slums, which must be tackled seriously by the distributor.
?We have a fundamental challenge in Ghana [poor planning]?no amount of efficiency you want to put into the system can ever get to the efficiency that you are looking for.