‘NPP invested telecom cash in energy sector’

Former Minister of State at the Finance Ministry, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei, has disclosed that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) under the leadership of Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor, invested US$500million out of the US$900million generated from the sale of Ghana Telecom, into the energy sector to ensure that the country enjoyed constant electricity supply.

“We spent US$500million to make sure that Volta River Authority (VRA) could generate energy and that is why growth reached 8%. If you mismanage the economy, you will not have money to buy crude oil. We sold Ghana Telecom for US$900million, US$500million of which was used for the generation”, he noted.

According to him, the NPP government also spent US$ 1million to buy CFLs to ensure that people use energy efficient bulbs for their operations.

Dr. Akoto Osei, who is the Member of Parliament for Old Tafo made this observation in Accra yesterday when the Minority NPP interacted with journalists over the power crisis confronting Ghana and the need to set the records straight about the investment they made in the energy sector before they left power.

The NPP has been criticized by the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) for not investing in the energy sector, a situation they argued, is a major contributory factor to the power crisis confronting the country.

To the NDC, if the NPP had invested heavily in the energy sector, the country’s generation mix wouldn’t have degenerated into the current crisis. However, Dr. Akoto Osei said the argument put forward by the NDC was far from the truth.

According to him, the NPP seeing the energy sector as priority in their scheme of things while in government invested heavily in the sector to ensure that, the industry gets constant power supply.

The Minority Spokesperson on Finance went ahead to criticize the NDC for not placing much importance to the energy sector and spending on power supply that does not make the country productive.

“You must have the knowledge to prioritize. If you have money and you choose to spend on judgment debts that are uncalled for and you say that we should offer you solutions? If you have money, you can buy gas among other things. If you have misused your money you can’t simply do anything else”, he said.

He said the country’s energy crisis is a financing issue and not that of generation, arguing that if the NDC could not manage the economy, it should step down for the NPP.

Earlier at the meeting, the Minority Spokesperson on Energy, Hon. K.T. Hammond, addressing the journalists outlined a number of intervention measures the NPP administration pursued to add more than 885.5 megawatts of power to the existing generation capacity before they left power in January 2009.

Key among the intervention measures include 126 MW Emergency Power Plants, 80 MW Power Plant by consortium of mining companies, 126 MW Tema Thermal Plant Power Project (TT2PP), as well as engineering, procurement and construction of Gas Turbine Generators and balance of plant for the 230 MW Kpone Thermal Project.

Additionally, the NPP commenced work on the Bui Dam and also undertook a number of measures to ensure that the VRA’s 126 MW TTIPP comes on stream, he said. The above mentioned projects, he argued, were even acknowledged in the former Finance Minister’s maiden Budget presented to Parliament on Thursday, March 5, 2009.

“All of the 1043 MW of the additional installed capacity the Minister talked about and more was either completely installed under the Kufuor administration or partially completed under Kufuor’s NPP. But the fundamental point is that all of them were initiated and started by the NPP Government”, averred Mr. Hammond, who is also the Ranking Member of the Committee on Mines and Energy.

Commenting further, he said what was shocking ever since the NDC took power in 2009 was their failure to complete the 230 MW KTIPP they (NPP) left behind. “Six years after the Minister’s statement, because of greed, selfishness and corruption, the 230 MW KTIPP is yet to be commissioned.

“The project was discontinued and the turbines were left at the mercy of the elements, thanks to fratricidal warfare at VRA. This negligent dereliction of responsibility has added considerably more cost to the original cost outlay”, he explained.

Notwithstanding the above mentioned projects, he said the NPP also pursued new technology to retrofit four of the turbines of the Akosombo Dam to increase the installed capacity of the generators from 912 MW to the current 1020 MW. Further to that, the NPP concluded a contract agreement with the Canadian Commercial Corporation for the construction of a 132 MW combined cycle power plant at Aboadzi.

“Incidentally, two years after the commissioning of this plant, it has not worked for more than two weeks and the plant have now been shut down and producing nothing. And all this, is after over $260m of the tax payer’s money has been invested in it.

“This and the KTIPP are a 362 MW capacity which could easily have been passed into operation to obviate the unjustifiable need for the current load shedding exercise which has stunted the economic growth of the country”, noted the Adansi Asokwa legislator.

According to him, the NPP Government also facilitated the construction of a 126 MW IPP and the Tema Osonor Plant which was later renamed CENIT Power Plant.

Source : The Chronicle