The Minority in Parliament is warning Ghanaians to brace up for a tumultuous period with alarming rising debts in the energy sector.
According to the minority, all state-owned enterprises (SoEs) in the energy sector reported losses signaling a weak and crippling sector performance.
The Minority indicated at the end of 2018, the finances of these power sector entities have deteriorated, making it difficult to operate efficiently.
Growing debts in the books of the utilities, they said, is contributing to the sporadic electricity supply but the President Akufo-Addo-led government is using a ruse to hide from the public.
Ranking Member on the Energy and Mines Committee, Adam Mutawakilu, who addressed a Minority press conference on Thursday indicated government’s debt to these entities has added huge liabilities to the existing Legacy Debt over a period of just two and half years.
“Government’s debt to the power companies as at the end of 2018 are as follows: Karpower, $150 million; ENI, $160 million; NEDCo, $162 million; IPP’s, $1 billion; GRIDCo, $171 million and Ghana Gas, $735 million.”
“This huge debt overhang is adversely affecting the viability and operations of the country’s energy sector companies and hindering their ability to function effectively and provide quality service to Ghanaians.”
The Ranking Member stated that the Legacy Debt, contrary to claims by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo that he inherited a US$5.2 billion debt in the energy sector, the debt was approximately $2.4 billion accumulated by successive governments between 1992 and 2015.
“$250 million out of the $2.4 billion was paid to Banks by the Mahama-led government in 2016 to ease the liquidity crunch; as at the end of 2016, the energy sector debt was approximately $2.2 billion,”
“At the exit of President John Dramani Mahama, the $2.2 billion amount was certified and agreed to be settled within 3 – 5 years starting from 2016, with the passage of the Energy Sector Levies Act 2015, Act 899 (ESLA);”
“There was a Term-sheet of $600 million to pay-off suppliers, but this was delayed by President Akufo-Addo for more than a year;”
According to him, unlike the Mahama government, President Akufo-Addo inherited a stable energy sector in 2017 and rakes in about GH¢3 billion ($590 million) annually from the ESLA Fund, besides the fact that at the end of 2016, almost all SoEs in the energy sector reported profits, showing strong sector performance.
Adam Mutawakilu argued despite the Akufo-Addo administration being the luckiest government in the nation’s history, receiving about US$7.772 billion from oil revenue between 2016 and 2018, the NPP government still has nothing to show for it except colossal debt.
He called on the President to provide better particulars on his claim that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) handed over a debt of $5.2 billion in the energy sector.
“And he should also account to Ghanaians how monies raised from the ESLA have been utilized.
The Minority, he said, will expose the incompetence being displayed on governance by the NPP government, which has brought untold hardship on the poor citizenry.
President Akufo-Addo, he said, must take responsibility and address the liquidity and operational challenges in the energy sector rather than resort to blame game.