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General News
Ex-Energy Minister Speaks On The Energy Situation 8/27/2007
A former Energy Minister in the Rawlings-led NDC government, Mr. Fred Ohene Kena, has challenged the NPP and the Kufuor administration to tell Ghanaians the cost that they have compelled the people of Ghana to endure by their refusal to implement the energy plans that the NDC bequeathed to them. “Nobody appears to be concerned about the huge cost that the NPP’s refusal to adhere to the laid down energy plans has inflicted on the nation. Yes, the situation is improving, but at what cost?” Ohene Kena asked during an interview with the Weekly Standard.

“The energy crisis was avoidable. The nation would not have faced this crisis if the NPP had followed the well thought-out plans that the NDC left behind,” he pointed out.

Mr. Kena lamented that, “we seem not to be concerned about the cost of loss of industrial capacity, loss of jobs and related costs that resulted from the energy crisis, and the government is also not telling the people how much the crisis itself cost the nation and how much is being spent to bring the situation to normalcy,”.

He urged the NPP and the Kufuor administration to come clean and tell the people of Ghana the truth about the energy crisis, including the avoidable cost it has inflicted on the nation.

Mr. Fred Ohene Kena pointed out that the energy crisis that has dogged the nation for the last one year with its frustrating ramifications could have been averted if the NPP administration that took over in 2001 had followed the well thought-out energy program that had been put in place by the experts in the business in 2000.

He lamented the fact that in their haste to write off anything and everything that the NDC administration did and also persecute members of the previous government, “the NPP obviously forgot about the critical role that energy plays in the social and economic development of our country.”

According to Mr. Ohene-Kena the NDC energy program of 2000, which was available to the Kufuor administration, had advised that 100MW of electricity be added to the national energy requirements annually and this, “if the Kufuor administration had implemented, would have added 600MW by year 2007 and this would have met the national energy requirement which was growing at 6 percent annually.”

“The debilitating load shedding that has frustrated and shattered the hopes of many businesses and ordinary people alike could have been averted completely,” Mr. Kena pointed out.

Many industries are operating at less than half production capacity and the future looks bleak for many others.

Other experts in the energy sector who the Standard spoke with condemned the government’s decision to restart VALCO at the time the country was facing shortfall in power generation, considering the fact that VALCO alone runs 2 pot lines of the Akosombo dam.

Some technical personnel blamed the politicians for not heeding to wise counsel, most of which was contained in the program mapped out in 2000. Charles Wereko-Brobbey, as CEO, for instance unilaterally pushed through the SRP project which has cost the nation over $34m and which did not produce even 1MW of energy for Ghana and has since been sent back to its owners.

Presently, Ghana is relying on the 280MW from Akosombo, a dam with a production capacity of over 1000MW, 550MW from Aboadze Thermal, between 50 – 60 MW from over 50 old small generators littering the tema port brought in recently by the government and 150MW now coming in from the Ivory Coast. If only this government had listened to good advice would we be in this mess.

Touching on the apparent improvement in the power situation, Mr. Kena urged the people of Ghana not to relapse into complacency and resort to wasteful use of electricity as the energy situation in the country appears to be getting better.

He pointed out that even though the water level in the Akosombo Dam is on the rise, “we are from getting out of the woods.”

As if to confirm Ohene Kena’s prognosis of the energy situation, a large section of the nation was on Tuesday plunged into darkness just as the national team, the Black Stars, were about to engage their Senegalese counterparts, the Teranga Lions, in an international friendly match. The Weekly Standard can confirm that the sudden blackout on Tuesday affected areas as far away from the capital city as Bolgatanga.

On how to prevent recurrence of the problem, Mr. Ohene Kena advised the NPP government to go back to the energy plans that the NDC ‘bequeathed’ to the NPP and implement those plans.

“If we refuse to implement the plans and we continue to run around in circles, we would only succeed in buying time for a short spell of time, but the problem would come back to haunt us,” he prophesied.

Source:
Lens


 
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