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16 July 2016

Teshie desalination plant rendering GWCL bankrupt – PUWU

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Desalination Plant at Teshie – Nugua

The Public Utility Workers’ Union has described as “bogus” the contract between the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) and Messrs Befessa Ltd the contractors and operators of the Teshie-Nungua desalination plant.

Messrs Befesa Limited, an engineering firm was contracted by government to build the desalination plant, operate to defray its cost and hand over to the GWCL after 25years.

According to PUWU, the company is instead rendering the GWCL bankrupt.

The General Secretary of PUWU, Mr. Bondzi-Quaye while addressing the 11th Quadrennial Delegates’ Conference of the Public Utilities Workers Union in Kumasi noted that “Befessa sells this water to GWCL in bulk at $1.50, an equivalent

of GH¢6.75 per cubic meter, which they in turn, are compelled by the Public Utility Regulatory Commission to sell to the public at GH¢1.47 per cubic meter.

So for every cubic meter of water that GWCL buys from Befessa, it loses a whopping GH¢5.28.”

He added that, the plant’s average electricity consumption of GH¢1.4million per month is paid for by GWCL according to the agreement.

“In addition, GWCL is under obligation to pay GH¢11.6million as capacity charge under the contract. Not only that, GWCL has to pay GH¢5,824,665.00 to Messrs.”

Mr. Bondzi-Quaye asserted that consumers of utility in the country receive poor services resulting from contracts entered into by Government and added that when Utility providers are given “the free hand to perform, can deliver to the best of their ability to satisfy their numerous customers”.

“On the other hand, consumers, through no fault of theirs, have had to suffer serious deficiencies in service delivery of the utility companies through the supply of sub-standard materials through contracts by powerful and politically well-connected personalities while authorities, for very obvious reasons, dare not complain…that is why I am bold to say that, the challenges militating against efficient and reliable service delivery in the sector are self-inflicted”, he complained.

The current challenges faced under the contract of Messrs and GWCL, Mr. Bondzi-Quaye says, the union will not allow the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to face.

President John Dramani Mahama earlier announced the privatization of ECG, describing the company as inefficient in power distribution.

This follows a contract Ghana has signed with the United States Millennium Challenge Corporation (Compact II), for a grant of $490 million.

However, this announcement has met a lot of opposition from workers of ECG and members of PUWU.

The General Secretary addressing the issue of privatization of ECG at the conference, noted that “the Company and the Union are not opposed to positive reforms in ECG”, citing the current Strategic Business Units program piloting in the Ashanti Region as a bid for ECG “to ensure high productivity and efficiency levels”, in the Region.

Mr. Bondzi-Quaye revealed that, the current electricity tariff subsidy “was not to leverage the utility companies and their operational challenges, but, to also assure the incoming investor of its compliance with the Compact conditions.”

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