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Our power problem is money not lack of generation capacity – CEPA boss

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Executive Director CEPA, Dr Joe Abbey

The Executive Director of the Centre for Economic Policy Analysis (CEPA) is hinting of a possible misdiagnosis of Ghana’s energy crisis which has left the country in darkness for over four years.

Dr Joe Abbey told Joy News Editor Dzifa Bampoh Ghana’s power problem has everything to do with lack of funds.

“Our immediate problem is not one of generating capacity. Our immediate problem is money. We have locked up VRA’s working capital. It is owing. It is owing other creditors and suppliers; it is owing Nigeria Gas.

“…Our own Ghana Gas we are almost crippling it because the Chief Executive has told us that VRA has not been able to pay for the gas they have taken,” he said.
The economist was surprised that rather than paying the debt owed the gas suppliers, government has shifted to oil, an option, he hinted was expensive and unsustainable.

“A world bank study said if you produce power from oil, it is about three times more expensive than power from gas. So if you turn to oil, it means that the tariffs that you have gotten now may not be able to cover the cost to VRA of producing power to us. So either you

have to raise the tariffs again or will again leave the VRA with unfunded substitute,” he warned.

Ghana’s four-and-half-year-old power crisis does not look like abating anytime soon despite many promises by officialdom to solve it.

There has been huge investment made by government in procuring emergency power plants including Karpower and Ameri as part of measures to increase the generation capacity and to solve the seemingly terminal power crisis.

But the situation has gotten worse over the last couple of weeks with many demanding the release of a load-shedding timetable to regulate the outages.

But government has been reluctant to release the timetable.

During a mid-year review of the budget statement on the floor of Parliament, Monday, Finance Minister Seth Terkper said government has procured 400 barrels of light crude to power the thermal plants to ameliorate the worsening power crisis.

That he believes will give Ghanaians some relief but in a reaction, Dr Joe Abbey said the option was unsustainable and would rather the government solves the problem of indebtedness to VRA.

“If we don’t get to the question about VRA’s working capital and solve it, we be in trouble. We should get our finances in order. Make sure we deal with this bottlenecks before they worsen our situation for us.

“We must tell ourselves that we cannot go on breaking VRA down by leaving it with all manner of payment arrears..” he advised.

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