By: Edmond Gyebi, Tamale
The Deputy Minister of Energy, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, has called for concerted efforts from government and managers of the Volta River Authority (VRA) to build an efficient, viable and sustainable utility that would provide quality and reliable electricity to all Ghanaians.
According to the Minister, the government was aware of the importance of efficient power supply in enhancing the socio-economic development of the nation, and would, therefore, explore all opportunities to ensure an improved power supply.
Speaking at the official launch of VRA/NEDCo and swearing in of its Board of Directors in Tamale, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini said “in pursuant of its overall vision of achieving universal access to electricity for all Ghanaians, the government of Ghana, in June 1994, initiated the Power Sector Reform Programme (PSR), aimed at creating an enabling environment in the energy sector, in order to attract private capital and provide reliable energy supply to support the socio-economic development of the country”.
He said so far, about 72% of Ghanaians have access to electricity in Ghana, and expressed hope for an immediate improvement with the ongoing rural electrification project introduced by the government.
In Northern Region alone, about 500 communities are going to be connected to the national grid under the rural electrification project.
Alhaji Fuseini, however, charged the new Board and the staff of VRA/NEDCo to be effective and responsible in their operations, in order to meet the demands of their customers.
He described the operationalisation of NEDCo as a critical component of the Power Sector Reforms. According to the Deputy Energy Minister, the decision to operationalise NEDCo was in line with the Volta River Development (Amendment) Act 692 of 2005, which repealed the PNDC Law 171 of 1987, the legislation which enabled VRA to set up the Northern Electricity Department (NED), and take over distribution activities in the northern sector of Ghana.
On the other hand, the Managing Director of VRA/NEDCo, Mr. John Nuworkloe, said the launching of the NEDCo as a subsidiary company of VRA marked another giant step in achieving the objectives of the Power Sector Reforms.
He said that the VRA/NEDCo’s current vision was to become the leading utility for providing electricity distribution service in Ghana and the West African sub-region.
“Since 1987, VRA/NEDCo’s business has involved the procurement of electricity for distribution in an efficient, safe and reliable manner in the VRA/NEDCo operating area. It is worth mentioning that VRA/NEDCo’s operations today, cover over 60% of the land mass of Ghana, extending into the northern parts of Volta and Ashanti regions. It also supplies power to Dapaong in Togo, as well as the border towns of Po, Leo and Yuoga in Burkina Faso.”
However, he noted that the vision of VRA/NEDCo to become the leading electricity distribution service provider in Ghana and African sub-region has been burdened by so many challenges, including the dispersed distribution network with higher than normal operations and maintenance costs, outdated distribution network, which needs rehabilitation and reinforcement, and inadequate funding for the renewal of infrastructure among others.