I have noted with concern the deliberate and orchestrated attempt by President Akufo-Addo to continue to appropriate projects and achievements of the erstwhile NDC administration especially in the energy sector and present them as his achievements.
It is obvious the Nana Akufo-Addo administration, after failing to achieve anything substantial in the almost two years of the administration, has resorted to this strategy, which will surely not be allowed to continue.
About three weeks ago, the President re-commissioned a 20-megawatt solar plant in the Gomoa West Area of the Central Region, which was completed and commissioned more than two years ago under the Mahama administration.
Only last week, before he flew out again on another non-beneficial trip to London, Nana Addo at a ceremony to inaugurate a 225KV transmission line, started during the tenure of President John Dramani Mahama, chose to make very unfortunate and unfounded statements specifically on the export of energy from Ghana.
He actually claimed that it is his Government that has stabilised power supply in the country and started exporting power.
First, it is important to point that Ghana has been exporting electricity to its neighbours including Cote D’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Togo for decades.
Upon assumption of office in 2009, the NDC Administration commissioned the development of a long-term energy policy to position Ghana as a self-sufficient nation in power production and to ensure that the nation developed its export potentials as follows: Burkina Faso 150MW by 2019; Mali 150MW by 2021; Togo and Benin 200MW by 2020.
To achieve this target, the NDC Government embarked on an aggressive programme to boost the power generation capacity, improve the transmission network, enhance the supply situation and resolve fuel supply challenges with the overall objective of ensuring that Ghana enjoyed reliable, adequate and sustainable supply of power for domestic consumption and to export the excess capacity generated.
Consequently, a robust programme of increasing thermal power generation was implemented by the NDC. This resulted in the doubling of the installed capacity of 1,935.00MW, inherited in 2008, to 4,132.60MW by end of 2016.
The Ministry of Energy and Petroleum undertook key projects such as the 450MW Karpowership, 200MW Kpone Thermal Power Project (KTPP), 360MW Asogli Project; 20 MW BXC Solar Project; 250MW Ameri Project, 250MW AKSA 250, 50MW Trojan Project amongst others.
The evidence points to the fact that load shedding (DUMSOR) was officially ended by the end of December 2015, further to this, load shedding was never declared in the whole of year 2016 having achieved adequate thermal generation.
The claim by President Akufo-Addo that he inherited an erratic power supply is therefore false and a blatant lie.
On the specific issue of exporting power to Burkina Faso, to ensure that we develop a resilient and efficient transmission system with the potential of exporting additional power to neighbouring countries, the Mills/ Mahama Administration signed an agreement (known as the “Inter-Zonal Transmission Hub Project”) with the World Bank and other partners, which became effective on 14th December, 2012.
The development objective of the project was to reduce the cost of electricity and improve security of electricity supply to Burkina Faso, while increasing Ghana’s electricity export capacity generally.
The project involved the construction of approximately 200-kilometre-long power evacuation infrastructure comprising steel lattice towers, insulators and conductors to transmit up to 225 kilo volts of electric power.
Primarily, the line was expected to evacuate electrical energy supply generated in Ghana directly to Burkina Faso. The Ghana section of the project covers the construction of approximately 39.3 kilometres of the 225kV transmission line and the extension of the existing 161 kV sub-station in Bolgatanga to accommodate the line.
The Project also included the construction of a 330KV (kilovolt) sub-station at the Aboadze Thermal Plant in the Western Region to help carry bulk electricity power at a much higher voltage from the enclave in Takoradi through Cape Coast, Winneba and then to Accra.
The project, which was funded by the World Bank, French Development Agency, European Investment Bank, Burkina Faso’s National Electricity Company (SONABEL) and GRIDCo, with an amount of €81.1million, was expected to be completed by end of September 2017.
It, therefore, comes as a surprise that instead of President Akufo-Addo acknowledging and commending his predecessor for implementing this noble project, the President rather used the occasion to cast aspersions and make false claims about the energy sector.
It is, in fact, on record that in June 2016, six months after the official end of the load shedding programme, President Mahama speaking at the maiden congregation of the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) announced that with the energy crisis over, the country will be made a major power exporter.
“A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to cut sod for the commencement of an onshore receiving facility for Sankofa gas. It is estimated at 1.5 trillion cubic feet. It is capable of supplying Ghana with 1000 megawatts of power for the next 20 years. Indeed, my vision is to make Ghana a net exporter of Power when the West Africa Regional electricity market becomes operational sometime next year” he stated.
It is important to place on record that the NDC-led administration handed over a robust, resilient and sustainable energy supply system to the NPP administration.
The attempt by the President and his Government to twist the facts on the energy sector will surely fail, as the facts do not support their narrative.
It is also instructive to note that through interventions by the NDC Government, access to electricity was increased from 54% in 2008 to about 82% by the end of 2016. This has culminated in Ghana being celebrated as the country with one of the highest rates of access to electricity in Sub Saharan Africa, second only to South Africa.
The Mahama administration did not only fix the power generation challenge as promised by then President Mahama, it also took comprehensive steps to deal with erratic fuel supply by constructing the Atuabo Gas processing plant as well as instituting the Energy Sector Levies Act (ESLA) to address the legacy debt, which was choking the energy sector SOEs.
The Atuabo Gas processing plant currently supplies more that 75% of the total gas requirement of the thermal plants in Ghana thereby contributing significantly to reducing the cost of fuel and also improving power supply generally.
Having failed to abolish the Energy Sector Levies, after describing the levies as obnoxious and promising to abolish same whilst in Opposition, the least President Akufo-Addo can do is to remain silent and not resort to blatant falsehoods to cover up the embarrassing non-performance of his clueless and visionless Government.
John Abdulai Jinapor
Former Deputy Minister of Energy and Petroleum