VRA thermal plant
VRA thermal plant

Workers of the Volta River Authority (VRA) on Tuesday, advised the government to quickly revise any intentions to sell off the Company’s thermal and non-power generating assets, and threatened to strongly protest against the move.

The staff argued that the VRA was the only strategic state owned power utility, providing and guaranteeing the energy security of the people of Ghana and for that matter its thermal assets must not be sold, as this could have security implications for both staff and consumers.

The workers were of the view that the sale of VRA’s assets was not an option for government, as it could result in worse challenges including high electricity tariffs, staff layoffs, and also key state institutions such as the hospitals and security facilities could have their power distribution cut off should they fail to honour payment of their bills on time.

The workers gave the advice at a press conference jointly organised by the Senior Staff Association, and the Public Service Workers Union (PSWU) of the VRA in Accra, which was addressed by Mr Cephas Duse, the National Chairman of the Union.

He said although the VRA staff representatives with their union executives, had met with the necessary government agencies on the said media publication in the August 23, 2017 edition of the Daily Graphic, but they had denied knowledge of any such plans of sale of the said assets.

Mr Duse said if government was indeed interested in making the VRA efficient, profitable and help it to compete favourably in the energy market, they should rather ensure that it paid off all debts owed the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) so as to improve the operating capital of the Authority for efficiency.

He said they also demanded that government as a matter of urgency constituted the VRA Governing Board as prescribed in Section 3 of the VRA Act of 1961 (Act 46), and urge those in the Ministry of Energy and Finance Ministry to stop micro-managing the Authority and allow the governance structures to work.

Mr Duse said “what VRA needs at this material moment is a board and the debts in the power sector cleared to make VRA’s books look good”.

He also asked that government stop compelling the VRA to sell power to customers like the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) at subsidized rates, and delaying in reimbursing the Authority leading to huge debt accumulation, saying “Somebody must pay for the power, there is no free lunch”.

Mrs Esther Agyeman Asafo, the Chairperson of the PSWU, VRA, said the Authority had the capacity to produce power for the nation as it had demonstrated over the years and needed the government to support it rather than weigh it down with debts that it had no hand in causing and selling off its assets to private investors.

Source: GNA/NewsGhana.com.gh

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