The Deputy Minister for Information Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah has stated that a piecemeal approach towards settling Ghana’s energy legacy debt is not the solution to the problems of the sector.
He recommends what he calls a “bullet injection” to take the energy sector out of its present challenges.
Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah was speaking on GBC’s current affairs programme TALKING POINT on Sunday.
He reiterated that “…the energy crisis that has bedeviled this country the last four years has for most part been a financial crisis and not so much of a technical crisis because there are people with the technical solutions but it is because of the imprudent financial arrangements that we have not been able to solve the problem and solve it properly”.
He disagreed with the previous government’s arrangement to use the Energy Sector levy to defray the debt.
Touching on the amount owed presently, Mr. Oppong-Nkrumah said “we have about two point four billion dollars worth of legacy debt between the banks, the BDCs and the IPPs and it’s still growing by the day”.
The situation, he said is working against efficient delivery of services in the sector.
This is against the backdrop of old equipments that need replacement.
He stated that that it is only by retooling that efficiency in the energy sub-sector can be assured.
Stressing the point further, Mr. Oppong-Nkrumah stated “… This problem requires a bullet injection of about two point four, two point five billion dollars to take away this legacy debt in energy and by taking it away push for increased efficiency in the energy sub-sector”.
However, a co-panelist on the programme and a Senior Lecturer at the Economics Department of the University of Ghana Eric Osei-Assibey was of the opinion that efficiency is not assured only with re-capitalisation.”The entire energy sector needs comprehensive restructuring,” he stated.
Mr. Osei-Assibey suggested the outsourcing of management and privatisation as one way of helping with efficiency, saying that the capacity of the people managing the system is very important. He was not impressed with the progress made in the sector more than four months after the takeover of the present administration.
The programme had discussed the just-ended first National Policy Summit and the way forward.
Both panelists agreed it was a success with the level of engagement between duty bearers and policy makers on one side and the general public and private sector players on the other.
The need for a clear roadmap and timelines to achieve the set targets was however identified as areas that should be worked on for future summits.