04 July 2016

Indebtedness of ECG scares potential investors away

Finance Committee of Parliament, Dr Anthony Akoto OseiThe financial challenges facing the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) is scaring potential investors as government makes it clear it has taken a firm decision to privatise the entity.

Joy News is learning that out of the 60 private firms, both local and foreign, that expressed interest to partner ECG, under a 25-year concessionaire arrangement, 57 of them have pulled out of the deal.

The reason according to the ranking member of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, is as a result of the indebtedness of ECG which currently stands at GH¢3.7 billion.

He was contributing to a debate to approve a loan of $80 million to enable the Company procure prepaid meters.

“We know ECG is going under some form of privatisation and we know that about 60 companies replied for the request for proposals but right now only about three are left because of this situation we are in; because if you are a private company and you are told to come and inherit GH¢3.74 billion [debt] you would be wondering who is going to pay,” Dr Osei said.

In May this year, the acting Head of Finance of the ECG, Mr Frank Anokwafo, revealed at Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) sitting that government owed the Company GH¢950 million from subsidies and non-payment of bills, while private institutions and individuals owed GH¢610 million.

Since last Monday, the Company has started a revenue mobilisation exercise to recover money owed it by defaulting institutions.

The newly built Cape Coast Sports Stadium which was said to be indebted to the tune of GH¢719,792.46, the Cape Coast Polytechnic which also owes the ECG GH¢1,017,542, as well as the newly relaunched Ayensu Starch Factory, were disconnected.

A senior officer of the Power Ministry told the media Thursday that government is to release GH¢200 million to settle its indebtedness to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG),

The ranking member of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei charged the Finance Ministry to ensure that the energy services taxes imposed are saved and used to liquidate the debt.

Meanwhile Member of Parliament for Effutu, Alexander Afenyo Markin says government has yet to make details of the concessionaire agreement available to parliament.

Finance Committee of Parliament, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei electric bill too much expensive“We are aware that government is making some concessionary agreement where government is allowing  a certain minimum private participation in ECG’s operations,” Mr Markin said.

He went further to dismiss claims being advanced by some members of the public that Parliament approved the sale of ECG.

“Parliament has not approved the sale of ECG, what we are aware is that under the Millenium Challenge Account, Compact 2, there is some minimum level of privatisation over a 25-year period” he explained.

“To me, to the extent that certain efforts are being made to ensure the efficiency of in the distribution of power, I support it as ECG is saddled with a lot of debt. I am for every effort that would enable ECG operate efficiently however, such efforts should not lead to high cost of power,” Mr Markin said.

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