FMC calls for suspension of privatisation of ECG

The Federation of Muslim Councils of Ghana (FMC) has called on the government to suspend the privatisation of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

It advised the government, in the interim, to undertake wide and transparent consultation on how to improve upon power generation, supply and distribution in the country with all stakeholders, including faith-based organisations and the general public.

In a statement signed by the General Secretary of the FMC, Al-Hajj Muhammed Kpakpo Addo, the FMC said it made the appeal at the end of a two-day meeting of its national executive council, under the chairmanship of Alhaji Abdullah Williams to consider the power distribution crisis that has confronted the country in recent times.

It said the FMC had followed the twists and turns in the power supply crisis with discomfort and had also followed with keen interest, the moves being made by government to privatise the ECG as a condition for accessing $535,565,000 from the United States of America (USA), under the Second Compact of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). It called on the government to suspend the programme.

“In the interim the FMC advises the government to undertake wide and transparent consultation with stakeholders including chiefs, faith-based organisations and the general public on how to improve on power generation, supply and distribution in the country,” the statement said.

The statement said the FMC was of the opinion that privatisation of the ECG would not be beneficial to Ghanaians, especially the poor, who would be called upon to pay higher tariffs.

“Also, as with all privatisations, like the privatisation of Ghana Telecom, the planned privatisation of ECG, if carried out, will hit hard at innocent employees of ECG and by extension, those of GRiDCO and VRA, some of whom might lose their jobs.

“Privatisation has been tried in Ghana when Ghana Water Company Limited (GCWL) was given to Aqua Vitens Rand of South Africa to manage water distribution. Typical of such expatriate private operators, Aqua Vitens Rand performed badly leading to the abrogation of that contract – a lesson for Ghanaians. Indeed the practice of allowing private operators to manage electricity supply in the urban areas only has failed in many a nation of the world – Uganda and India being good examples,” it said.

The statement also said the FMC was of the view that the problem of power supply in Ghana was not only due to mismanagement but also failure of the government to pay its bills to the ECG, coupled with inconsistency in the processes of power generation, transmission and supply in Ghana.

“It will be a misplaced priority, in the view of the FMC, to think that privatising ECG as a conditionality for $500 million will solve the problem of electricity supply in Ghana rather than addressing the power generation mix and tackling mismanagement in the energy sector,” it added.

source : Graphic Online