Gov’t owes VRA US$300million
By Daniel Nonor
One of the major problems currently facing the Volta River Authority (VRA), and perhaps culminating in the energy challenges the country is currently facing, is the huge debt the government of Ghana owes it.
For over a year now, the government has failed to make good its quarterly financial obligations to the power generating Authority, amounting to a whopping US$300 million.
“Unfortunately, for reasons we are not aware of, quarterly payments have not been made for over a year now.” The Chief Executive told The Chronicle on the sidelines of the Biennial National Congress of the VRA Senior Staff Association at Akosombo at the weekend.
The effect of this on the operations of VRA is that the Authority is often challenged in its ability to purchase crude oil for its operations.
“…we have difficulty opening our lines of credit to buy crude oil, and so we are challenged sometimes. We are not able to open them on time, and often times, they get delayed. So that has happened from time to time,” Mr. Kweku Awortwi Andoh told The Chronicle.
Despite these challenges, the VRA posted a very impressive financial performance in 201. The Authority posted a profit of about GH¢40 million in 2011, and made significant gains in its non-power operations such as the Akosombo Hotels, which made profit for the first time in almost a decade.
Speaking of plans by the Authority to augment the country’s power generation capacity, he noted that there were plans to increase the country’s power capacity by an additional 3000mw in October this year.
He said, to begin with, the VRA steam turbine is expected to add a 100mw on stream by the end of October, this year.
Also, a Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) project in Tema was also expected to generate an additional 100mw of power, while new projects in Takoradi were also expected to come online in October.
“We are expecting about 300mw in the next 4 to 6 weeks,” he hinted. In addition to other projects to shore up the country’s power generation capacity to feed the nation’s growing industries, Mr. Andoh further hinted of plans by the VRA to operate one of the largest dams in Nigeria, which had a generation capacity of 600 megawatts.
The Biennial National Congress of the Senior Staff Association was under the theme: “Promoting good corporate governance in VRA: the role of the senior staff Association.”
Speaking on the theme of the congress, Mr. Andoh applauded the association in helping to shape the vision of the Authority over the years.
He, however, reiterated the fact that the Authority cannot achieve its set objectives if good governance was not strictly adhered to.
He charged the members of the Association to continue to dialogue with management to help achieve the organisation’s aims.
Mrs. Marian Antwi, the outgoing Chairman of the Senior Staff Association, pledged the support of the members in keeping the vision of the Authority alive.
As food for thought, she left the Authority to dilate on whether it wants to be a profit generation entity or a non-profit company.
To her, the better the company finds which way to go, the better it would be for the future of power generation in the country.
But, the Chief Executive of the VRA was quick in his response, by stating:
“If we are not here for profit, we would not be here.”
The Association elected new executives to steer its affairs.
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