From Musah Umar Farouq
President John Dramani Mahama has reiterated that the government has no intention whatsoever in privatising the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), as is being feared by many. Addressing workers at this year’s May Day celebrations at Wa, he allayed the fears of the agitating workers, saying, “Let me restate; ECG is, and will remain, a wholly-owned state enterprise.”
Per the second compact of the Millennium Challenge Account signed by the government in August 2014, the ECG is set to be leased to a private company for up to 30 years. Among other things, the move seeks to ensure reliable power supply for domestic and industrial use, improved transparency, and independence in the setting of regulated tariffs by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), and improve the ECG’s creditworthiness to enable it acquire additional generation capacity from IPPs without, or with limited recourse to government guarantees.
Many experts, including the workers of the ECG, have viewed the move as a privatisation of the country’s main power distributor, and are kicking against it. Workers at the May Day parade in Wa carried placards and banners urging the government to stop what they termed “ECG Concession”. But, President Mahama told Ghanaians his “government had no intention of privatising ECG”, noting that the government’s agreement under the MCA compact is to leverage private sector participation.
“The government agreement under the Millennium Challenge Compact is to leverage private sector participation at the client level to assist in resolving client complaints and revenue collection,” he said.
He assured the ECG workers and organised labour that there will be no retrenchment of staff, saying,
“There will be no worker retrenchment occurring as a result of this reform.” The Secretary General of TUC, Mr. Kofi Asamoah, also pleaded with the government saying, “Imagine what the situation would be when Electricity Company of Ghana is handed to the profit-motivated private sector.