Gov’t responsible for ECG’s huge debts – Energy Minister

Energy Minister, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, has admitted government responsibility for the huge indebtedness of the Electricity Company of Ghana.

He says the high default rate in the payment of tariffs by government institutions cannot sustain any business entity.

ECG has had to embark on mass disconnection to recover debts owed it by consumers, especially government institutions.

Mr. Buah says this has become a disincentive to attracting private investors for the power distribution company.

“In the past, I can say in public that even government was part of the problem.

He points ministries, universities, government agencies, schools as using electricity anyhow and send huge bills to the government to pay.

“For a long time, debts have accumulated; government is not paying ECG so ECG is unable to pay its creditors.

“And because of that nobody is investing in power generation,’ he exclaimed.

The minister also expressed worry at the rate of politicization of ECG matters.

“We have to know by now that when it comes to electricity, the politics must be far away gone because it comes to the heart of the country. “For the last forty years, every government has come but the issue of electricity has still been there,” he continued.

The minister believes a collective effort by the entire populace is critical to address it.

Meanwhile, Sector Minister has described as untrue reports suggesting the Electricity Company of Ghana is being sold to private interest.

He explains government is exploring options for private sector partnership to strengthen the company.

ECG requires about 200 million dollars every year to address its investment gap in order to meet annual power demand growth rate of about 10 percent.

Mr. Buah says attracting private investment will guarantee sustainability due to the capital intensive nature of the sector.

He said this at the commissioning of ECG district office in Abuakwa part of the Ghana energy development and access project.

Mr. Buah is, therefore, positive the project will ensure an optimum customer service delivery for the people of Ashanti.

source : myjoyonline.com