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24 August 2017

Selling VRA thermal plants not a wise move – MP

The potential sale of at least a majority stake in specified thermal plants owned by the Volta River Authority (VRA) could see Ghanaians held hostage by the private sector, the Bongo MP, Edward Bawa, has warned.

Speaking on Eyewitness News, the Bongo MP said such a move would be ill-advised and given the VRA holds reliable power generation as a priority.

“Because it is a public institution, its first concern is not profit making. Its concern is to ensure that the country is provided with reliable sources of power for all other sectors of the economy,” Mr. Bawa asserted.

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta had given indications in March that it was looking to involve the private sector in restructuring the VRA when he presented the 2017 budget in Parliament.

The recent concerns with the VRA’s thermal component stem from the government’s advertisement in the Daily Graphic of August 23, 2017, noting the sale of at least a majority stake in specified thermal plants owned by the Volta River Authority (VRA).

These moves, according to the advert, formed “part of government’s efforts to restructure the energy sector.”

Those hints caught Mr. Bawa by surprise at the time and he warned that the government was underestimating Ghana’s dependence on the thermal power plants.

He noted that hydro sources for power now form less than 50 percent of our generation mix “so it means that as a country, gradually we are depending on thermal which is based on fossil fuel gas. So if the government has to offload that to the private sector, what it means is that as a country, we could be held hostage by the private sector.”

Foreigners likely to purchase VRA thermal stake

Given the huge capital outlays of these thermal plants, the MP argued further that “what you are going to have is foreign persons patronizing this particular sale because most Ghanaians will not be able to patronize this sale.”

This turn could have further security implication because of shifting mandate of the potential private owner.

“Therefore you will be handing over your thermal plant which is about 50 or 51 percent of your total generation mix to foreign companies and therefore, in terms of security, it doesn’t make sense.”

“Beyond the fact, there is a security component to it, remember that it is a public institution and they have a mandate to ensure that country is secured when it comes to energy. The private man who comes in doesn’t have that as part of his concerns. All he is think is about he makes his margins,” Mr. Bawa added.

By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonine.com/Ghana

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