Think tank lauds private hands in ECG, wants it to be permanent

ECGThe Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBRE), a Kumasi-based think tank, has lauded moves to engage the private sector in the management and operations of Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

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. The process is already on-going

CEBRE, in a statement, said “ECG will be better placed to provide better services to the country with the private sector involvement than it is currently providing,” noting it will help solve the challenges facing the company in order for it to function effectively.

It also wants government to make the private sector participation a permanent one for the betterment of the company while the distribution sector is liberalized for other players to compete with ECG, in order to give consumers quality choice.

It mentioned lack of adequate capital leading to high indebtedness to power producers; inability of ECG to collect bills/revenue efficiently and effectively; distributional losses due to obsolete equipment; and excessive governmental control/interference as some of the challenges

It thus argues that private sector investment in ECG will make available funds to provide the needed equipment and facilities to make its operations more efficient.

“More money will be made available to pay the private power producers and this will serve as incentive for the independent power producers and it will make the sector more lucrative for private investment in order to produce enough energy to meet the demand of both domestic and commercial users without the regular outages that we see on daily basis,” said Gordon Newlove Asamoah, Executive Director of CEBRE.

The Centre however suggests additional measures be put in place to make the private sector participation more meaningful.

Make PURC an Authority

The Public Utility Regulatory Commission should also be turned into an Authority and be given more powers to be able to play an effective refereeing role to protect consumers from any extortions by these private investors.

CEBRE also demands from government and Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) to give priority to qualified Ghanaian investors who are ready to invest in ECG.

“There are countless successful Ghanaian businesses and individuals capable of running any Multinational Company. Therefore government should involve Ghanaians as much as possible so that most profit from the company would not be repatriated,” said the think tank.

By Kofi Adu Domfeh||Ghana

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