Government has insisted that the cause of the erratic power supply is down to vandalism in Nigeria and not debts owed to gas supplier, West African Gas Pipeline company (WAPCo).
Energy minister Emmanuel Armah Kofi-Buah maintained on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Monday morning, government has no problems with WAPCo in terms of payments.
A resurgent power crisis has put government under pressure after it appeared to have petered out in the beginning of the year.
A possible explanation surfaced after a letter from the managers of the 678 kilometer pipeline company began circulating in the media.
The letter, dated June 16, says there is “non-payment of the sum of US$101.736 million” overdue invoices.
WAPCo outlined three conditions to be met before gas supply is restored. It wants a security that future services will be paid for and an acceptable plan of paying previous debts plus immediate payment of $25million.
WAPCo warned that it may suspend the transportation of gas by 17 June 2016.
But reacting to the letter, NDC National Organizer explained that the power crisis started before WAPco wrote the letter and therefore it cannot be the cause of the crisis.
He argued that WAPco stopped supplying gas to Ghana because of vandalism and not because of debts owed it.
“…even before this letter was written they were not bringing gas [because of vandalism]”.
According to him the letter was to remind Ghana government of contractual obligations even though the company had been forced to halt gas supply.
Ghana has a deal with N-Gas to receive a 120 million standard cubic feet (mmscf) of gas daily. The lack of gas from Nigeria has affected thermal power production enclave at Tema in the Greater Accra region.
The cut in gas supply has resulted in more than 500megawatts shortfall in power generation from the Tema enclave.
Kpong thermal plants Asogli
Photo: Power plants that rely or are expected to rely on gas from Nigeria.
Energy minister Kofi Armah-Buah said government has “paid everything that is due”.
He said at a recent meeting of four ministers whose countries rely on WAPco, a resolution was passed and WAPco is satisfied with a plan in place to pay outstanding bills.
He stressed that “the real reason today that we don’t have gas from Nigeria is that the pipelines are being vandalized.”
NPP Parliamentary Candidate for Adentan, Yaw Buabeng Asamoah, a panelist on the show, was not convinced, stating “the government is playing ostrich, the government is refusing to tell us the truth.”
He dismissed the minister’s explanation and insisted that a litany of debts is at the heart of the energy crisis.
Yaw Buabeng Asamoah claims there is a constant availability of gas worldwide and government cannot continue to insist there is no gas. “All they have to do is to buy gas elsewhere”, he said.
But his position was dimissed by the minister as lacking grounds.
“ I can swear the God I serve, if he has the infrastructure to supply gas to Sunon Asogli tomorrow he should do that and then come to your radio and tell Ghanaians that I have brought gas….and the government has not got money to pay”.
He said the power crisis predate the Mahama government and that “serious Ghanaians” appreciate that the power crisis is “not the creation of President Mahama”. He said government is committed to solving the problem of gas supply.
He said government is constructing a gas pipeline from Aboadze in the Western region to transport Ghana’s own gas to Tema in Greater Accra.
The pipeline is expected to eliminate a severe dependence on gas from Nigeria.
Until that is done, the Energy minister maintained that “without the Nigeria pipeline, it is impossible to get gas to these over 500 megawatts power plants whiich are sitting there today with no gas”