Concerns are being raised over government’s intention to give away the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) for ‘sale.’
Government is in the process of handing out the management of the company to a foreign investor who would be required to inject an estimated $450 million over a period of three years at an annual rate of $150 million – an amount said to be far less than what ECG [as weak as it is said to be] is currently investing in its distribution operations every year.
The contract would allow the investor to recoup its investment over a period of 25 years.
This is what is raising hairs over what looks like a virtual sale of the national asset.
At a press conference in Accra yesterday, members of the Coalition Against the Proposed Concession Arrangement for ECG could not fathom the viability of government’s decision.
Spokesman for the group, Richard Kwasi Nyamah, said, “It is our considered opinion that ECG doesn’t have to be operated by foreign investors for it to be profitable or successful.
“From the above, the company or individual who will be selected as the operator of ECG’s assets could be less than one tenth the worth of ECG, which is worth $4 billion as valued by an independent international consultant.” He wondered why government is bent on giving it away under bizarre circumstances for a pittance of $450 million – an amount which is less than the debt of the government of Ghana to ECG and about one tenth of the estimated value of ECG.
Mr Richard Kwasi Nyamah noted that “In its down state, ECG annually expends at least an estimated amount of $100 million on network investments only; meanwhile, the company coming in is supposed to invest only $50 million per annum – far less than ECG is currently investing.”
On the balance of probability, he and his colleagues believe that ECG is much healthier and in a better state than the company that would be taking over, wondering why the government would invite a weaker entity to operate a potentially viable company which on the average is able to rake in some $1.3 billion revenue per annum for the whole power sector.
Mr Nyamah thus wondered whether government is not mentally enslaved, asking rhetorically, “Why is it not giving the $500m to ECG to improve its performance and viability but rather give it to foreigners to run it for us? Is it the case of the white man being superior and better than we blacks?”
That aside, the Coalition indicated that the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA), which is pushing for the privatisation of ECG, had either neglected or refused to take into cognizance, the interest of the employees and management of ECG.
“As we speak, as a result of this lack of consultation with ECG, some 7,000 plus workers and their families’ faith hangs in the balance after five years of coming on board of the new company,” Richard Nyamah noted, adding that “Additionally, the fate of third party electrical contractors nationwide; indigenous local Ghanaian companies such as the cable manufacturers, meter manufacturers, transformer refurbishing companies, are all hanging since these individuals and firms largely depend on ECG for survival.”
The group has since resolved to hold a stakeholders’ conference to solicit views of stakeholders on alternative and credible structures for a private sector participation in the running of ECG.
At the said forum, they have promised to make available to Ghanaians evidence to the effect that government, in spite of the glaring evidence, is not interested in pursuing the country’s interest.
Also, they indicated, “We will submit a petition to the United States government with our evidence through the United States Embassy in Ghana. This petition shall be on the basis of the US ‘Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934’”
After that, leadership of the Coalition intends to bring a court action against government for failing to act in the supreme interest of Ghana.