President John Dramani Mahama’s assurance to the nation to end the almost two year debilitating load shedding exercise by the end of this year could suffer a severe jolt unless he steps in to halt the concealed internecine fighting between his Minister of Finance and managers of the power sector.
Flawless intelligence gathered by The aL-hAJJ has revealed that handlers of the power sector, Volta River Authority, Ghana Grid Company Limited and Electricity Company of Ghana, are up in arms against Seth Terkper, the Finance Minister, accusing him of non-committal to ending the sapping load shedding exercise now christened, dumsor-dumsor.
Deep throat sources in the power subsector told this paper that unless President Mahama steps in to direct the Finance Minister to release the badly needed funds for the actualization of his assurance of ending the load management this year, the disturbing problem could extent into next year.
“My brother let me tell you the truth, the Finance Minister is not committed to ending the power crisis. He is starving us of funds needed to solve the problem. Mind you the President has promised the people of this country to end this problem by the end of this year so he must step in and call the Finance Minister to release the money for us to solve the problem,” a top management member of one of the institutions who pleaded anonymity confided in The aL-hAJJ.
But, uncompromising Emmanuel Seth Terkper won’t have any of the accusations when this paper contacted him en-route to a World Bank conference in US on Tuesday. In a sharp riposte, the Finance Minister rubbished all the charges, saying he was not in office to throw away tax payers’ money.
The Minister, who was on his way to Washington for a World Bank meeting, was less enthused with the performances of the managers of the utility services, particularly VRA, whom he singled out for not prudently managing funds allotted them by way of guarantee.
According to the unyielding Finance Minister “If I give money to VRA, right, for a whole cargo (shipload of crude) and I guarantee and they go and sell and they don’t even pull 20%...even 10% to the banks and the banks come and I take the tax payers’ money to pay them, is that how to make good use of our money?”
“…government was paying subsidy, now we have remove subsidy and the consumer is paying. They (VRA) use to say that we (government) owe them subsidy, now we’ve removed the subsidy and now they can’t buy their own cargo?” he quizzed.
But, a senior manager at VRA who wants to remain anonymous warned that if the Finance Minister continues to remain adamant to their plight, it is the country and the government that was likely to suffer.
He said for example, gas supply from Nigeria could be cut by the end of this month unless government releases about US$30m being two months debt VRA owed the WAGPCO “If the president does not step in as soon as possible to get the finance pay the Nigerians about US$28m we owe them by the end of this month trust me, the dumsor could be severe in the coming days”.
According to him, a new $200million VRA plant (T4) to be sited at Takoradi which will produce about 180 megawatts to argument the nation’s installed capacity may be aborted because of the refusal of the finance minister to issue the Spanish and Dutch firms who are financing the project a sovereign guarantee.
Ghanaians have close to two years been saddled with erratic power supply which has brought in its wake, agonizing and unbearable hardship to many people.
As a result, President Mahama early this year carved a Power Ministry out of the Energy Ministry and appointed Dr Donkor as its head. The President in his recent state of the nation address promised to fix the dumsor menace before the end of this year.
However, reacting to reports that managers of the West Africa Gas Pipeline are threatening to cut gas supply to Ghana for non-settlement of bills, unmoved Terkper was blunt and unshaken, explaining that agreements between VRA and managers of WAGPCO has nothing to do with him or the Finance Ministry.
“If VRA takes their gas and sell it without paying, that has nothing to do with me, that have nothing to with Ministry of Finance,” he insisted.
Aside the numerous new power agreements that has been signed and maintenance works on existing power plants, government, as part of its commitment to solving the energy problem, has sealed a deal to bring in two emergency power barges.
But, The aL-hAJJ’s sources at VRA, GRIDCO and ECG say all the promises by the President and the Power Ministry will come naught, if the President does not immediately direct Finance Minister to release funds needed for their operations. Stay tuned
Source: The Al-Hajj
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