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General News
CPP Blames Govt Wholly For The Energy Crisis 4/3/2007
Ladies and Gentlemen, members of the media , our country is facing a serious energy crisis at the moment , a crisis which threatens to undermine our efforts at development even further. The Government is rightly facing criticism from all quarters of society, including Labour Unions, Industry and ordinary members of the public, and we wish to add our voice to that call for answers from the NPP government.

As Ghanaians we have every right to hold our government to account on their decisions and omissions.

After nearly 7 years in power the Government has now announced an energy policy. Its Power Sector Reforms, which is intended to facilitate increased private sector participation and financing of power supply including the “ unbundling of VRA” would lead to a free-for-all in the energy sector, with many groups providing power without a framework for regulation.

The extensive nationwide ” load management programme” which is seeking a reduction of 300 MW out of the daily demand of 1,400 MW i.e. 21% or close to a quarter of the consumption was always bound to affect our industries and workforce and the question is – did government consult industry and the labour unions on indeed anyone on the likely effects and the necessary contingency measures to aid industry and the workforce?.

It is perhaps worth examining at this point some of the issues behind the present crisis as this will inform solutions for the future.

The Convention People’s Party (CPP) in its development and industrialization plans for Ghana noted “ the maintenance of a high availability of electrical power per head of employed worker”, it also noted “ with the implementation of the Akosombo scheme, Ghana will have a higher output of electricity…..” but that “…..the blueprints for the development of other sources of hydro-power must be put in final shape before the end of the plan period” i.e. 1970 It noted further that “ the programming of actual implementation during the next and subsequent plan period can be determined on the basis of a careful assessment of growth and demand”

The question that arise then is “have subsequent governments been assessing the growth of demand in line with what the CPP had already identified as a necessity for future generations?.

Whereas America finance was instrumental in the construction of the Akosombo Dam, the Russians by 1965 were working on the Bui Dam project and had built Bui camp with a cluster of bungalows of polished wood, a clinic, a meteorological station, an irrigated farm, hydrological measurement points, offices, and workshops with enormous collection of samples of tubular drilled rocks demonstrating CPP commitment to the next phase of meeting future power needs, with the Bui Hydro-Power Project.

After the treason of February 1966 the Russians working on the Bui project left Ghana within a week of the coup.

An international consortium headed by Halliburton Brown & Root was in October 1999 mandated under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Ghana, acting through the Volta River Authority (VRA), to develop the Bui project.

A Bui camp was again in place, although a pale shadow of the 1966 Bui Camp. On assuming power in January 2001, the current NPP government conducted due diligence on the MOU and in August the same year ended the Halliburton Brown & Root consortium involvement in Bui. The NPP administration then put in place a new tender process for potential developers of the project, with the Ghana Energy Commission replacing VRA as implementing body.

7 years has elapsed and we are now told that the Bui Hydro Project is now back on the agenda and will expand the existing Hydro power capacity by an additional 400 MW.

Many years have been wasted and the foresight and strategic planning of the CPP does not seem to have been displayed by subsequent governments indeed we seem to have come a full circle with those who propped up the NLC which overthrew the CPP government and abandoned the Bui Dam project being the same people ruling Ghana today and seeking to get back on the same track they had abandoned. Many questions must be asked of senior members of this government on their role which has lead to this crisis - Mr. J.H. Mensah a Senior member of the ruling party was the Minister of Finance in the Progress Party government. The question Ghanaians are asking Mr J.H . Mensah is whether he recommended abandoning the Bui Dam project?. The President, Mr. J. A. Kufour was a member of the Constituent Assembly that drew up the 1969 Constitution, with Article 71, which proscribed the C.P.P. and disenfranchised members of the C.P.P. to ensure that the U.P./P.P. won the 1969 election. President Kufour was the Deputy Foreign Minister in the Progress Party government of Dr. K.A. Busia.

Ghanaians are asking what happened to the Bui Dam project under the PP government of which the President and other NPP members were a part.

A number of measures have been announced by government in recent weeks:
“Fast tracking” repairs of the Aboadze Thermal Plant.
Plans to acquire a 126 MW plant.
Relocating the Osagyefo Barge to Tema
Collaboration with “ other entities” and Mines, to procure additional power generating facilities.
All rather “eleventh hour” and `raises further questions:
Has the government not been aware of the energy needs of the country?
Why did it wait till the country was engulfed in crisis before seemingly acting?
This has lead many to question whether the government will be able to get its act together and facilitate the generation of adequate power.

Increased hydro generation is viewed as not deliverable in the short term and the likely switch to thermal generation in the short term would have a massive cost implication which would lead to increased electricity prices. Government since the CPP Government including the present NPP government have seemingly failed to monitor the energy needs of the country and thus strategically plan to meet the energy requirements of our beloved country. Another good reason for the return to CPP government

Convention Peoples Party (CPP UK & Ireland)

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