Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Maafo has urged Ghanaians to pay the right prices for the energy they consume if the Volta River Authority (VRA) and other power-producing and distribution companies are to function effectively.
He further advised against collusion with some officials of the Electricity Company of Ghana to pay little or nothing at all for power consumed.
Mr Maafo gave the counsel on day two of the National Policy Summit in Accra on Tuesday, 16 May, under the topic: “Innovations and Opportunities in Government’s New Energy Sector Management Programme”.
According to the former Minister of Finance, some unpatriotic citizens do not pay for the power they consume, which affects the operations of the VRA as it is unable to service debts it owes banks.
He said: “They arrange with those who collect the bills and pay very little or nothing. In between people have all kinds of connection: they don’t pay for the power they use. So what happens to VRA? There is a shortfall of energy.”
The former Member of Parliament for Akim Oda lamented: “I’ve done it on two occasions since we came to power. VRA needs letters of credit (LCs) in getting crude oil so that they can produce because nobody wants ‘dumsor’. The Minister of Finance has to call banks for the banks to give LCs to VRA to bring in the necessary crude oil to produce power… I called an MD of a bank to come to Accra to confirm an LC to enable us have oil to generate power. In the end, it is not paid for because when it gets to the end user the money doesn’t come.
“The worry of the World Bank today – and the Finance Ministry knows – is that all our compacts that the Americans did with us was to straighten the operations of ECG because the way we are going, we can’t have a reliable source of energy to run this country and without energy there is no economy. So we can’t have a situation where all those who are producing the power in between are not paid the service they render and to make things worse after they borrow the money, they don’t pay the banks as well.
“So as I speak, you take VRA’s balance sheet and you look at the banks that have lent monies to VRA and VRA has not been able to pay that…and we continue to force these banks to provide LCs to support VRA’s operations. This is the situation we find ourselves. So let us do things right and let us pay the right prices for what we consume no matter what so that the institutions themselves operate profitably. It is important to have strong institutions, not strong individuals.”