Business in Ghana

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Powa Barging. Critical News, 6th December 2015

Posted by Business in Ghana on December 6, 2015

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

OMG! Twenty-five days (25) only left to the end of ‘Dumsor”. And in case Dr. Kwabena Donkor has any other interpretations, let’s make it clear to him that we the people of this country are not fools. We know exactly what is the difference between “load shedding” and “dum sor”. Load means “dum”, shed means “sor”. They are one and the same thing. We are not going to allow these infantile lies to change the goal post to end this ineptitude of managing power and electricity.

GNPC has too much money on its hands and have become a conduit for Government to redirect funds a it needs. Every year, GNPC receives money from the petroleum funds. So far this year they have received $98 million. It’s a lot of money to manage as a company, but with clear mandates to deliver we should expect plenty. But GNPC is not a transparent company. I have not seen a copy of their financials yet, neither have I heard anyone discuss whether they are meeting their targets and obligations to the people of Ghana. Instead I hear lots of comments about ex-gratia meant for persons who left the company or were sacked years ago.

I just got word that Tsatsu Tsikata has sued MP for Adansi Asokwa, Mr. KT Hammond in the High Court for unsavory statements. I am looking forward to 2016. Tsatsu was appointed Energy Advisor to JJ in December 2000, succeeded by Nana Asafu-Adjaye and gave up this position immediately after the NPP came to power in 2001. His entitlements, ex-gratia etc. should not be an issue today. We live in interesting times.

The power barge saga has run its gauntlet. I have been yelling how it is a bad deal, seeing as it has been touted as a leasing arrangement over a period of ten years. But seems I am not well informed.

Haven’t seen a contract yet, but I hear on good knowledge the arrangement with Karpower is a straight forward product purchase arrangement. Karpower have signed to sell power to Ghana at 14 cents/KWh. At exchange rates of Ghc3.8=$1, it makes the cost of the electricity 53.2 pesewas per KWh. Akosombo costs us 2.5 cents (9.50 pesewas) and the thermal supply costs 12.68 cents/KWh (48.18 pesewas). These calculations are based on presentations by VRA to the Association of Ghana Industries last month. The weighted mix of electricity in 50:50 proportions is 28.84 pesewas. We have a problem because even at these costs VRA and ECG complain about cost recovery and want an increase to 30.34 pesewas/KWh.

We have not agreed to increase the tariffs so these two companies can stay afloat, but we are prepared to pay a foreign barge 75% more than we can afford.

 

Anyway, we have over Ghc500 million sitting in the combined fund accounts for Heritage and Stabilisation. Just a word to Auntie Lottie at the Electoral Commission, that when she comes to tell us that we cannot have a new voter register because we cannot afford it, I will refer her to Parliament to release funds from either source. Each has approximately Ghc250million each and should fit the descriptions of stabilization and heritage for the future of Ghana.

And Mahamoudou Bawumia, Vice Presidential candidate of the NPP presented his views of the NDC Government’s budget in the week. An incensed Seth Terkper was reported as saying Bawumia did not highlight any of the good things the NDC has done.

Ah, and we sacked a handful of NDC budding Parliamentarians for some reasonable infractions during their primaries. Samuel George comes to mind and another lot. I think the chances of any of them going rogue and independent are pretty remote. Campaign funds are in short supply this year. You have to be careful how you argue.

So I ask the question, when does your opponent go on a political podium and go talk about all the good things you have done and then after that proceed to showcase what his party has achieved in the same breath?

I agree mostly with all that Bawumia said, I think I have been saying the same things for some time now and it seems we are getting some traction with the awareness of economic development compared to this “seek ye first the political kingdom” voice-over we have heard for too long.

With the 2016 elections ballooning full steam ahead, we need to nail down the triple-headed challenges we have for the Depreciating cedi, mounting Debt and increasing Deficits in the economy.

The Finance Minister wants accolade for all the structural alignment he claims he has put in place and which will be yielding results soon. But who caused all this mess and who is responsible for making sure it is fixed and never gets worse? The Politicians? Or all of us together as a team, which has become the rallying cry.

I have neither signed a single check, nor released any money for any purpose and none of my suggestions have been taken up that makes me feel I have given badly misfired advice. I say those who did it should fix it. But not by perpetuating their stay in government. This Government has one year to correct all that they have messed up and we should hold them to task for it.

I don’t think we should re-elect Mahama and his team. It is time for them to leave and let another group of persons who will lie less and perform better to come to the fore and give it a shot of “atemuda”. We need a severe jolt to kick-start a five-year recovery period to fix this broken economy.

So that brings us to Mr. Powa Barge and the cost of buying electricity at a rate that will surely kill the people of this country. I read a presentation by the VRA that paints and very dour picture of the situation at Akosombo. Compared to last year, we will start 2016 at an elevation five feet less than when we started 2015. The maximum elevation for 2015 is 244.8 ft., a result of political interference in technocrat space.

In this piece from an insider to how the GNPC deal was made, an “Occupier” Ghanaian explains the detail of the ex-gratia payments in GNPC and you have a chance to decide; apart from the fact that this is unlawful under PNDC Law 64, it smacks of bullying, which is what politicians are doing now. Just “powa-barging” their way to whatever source of money they can find.

“GNPC originally decided to use a formula that was ordered by the court for those ex GNPC workers who went to court after redundancy. That formula meant being paid 8 months salary for each year worked, apply interest of one year Treasury Bill and compounded annually. But when they calculated it they were not happy with the sums involved, based on the nominal salary for every year worked. This court approved formula would have given Tsatsu Tsikata GHS363,999.17. Esther Cobbah would have received GHS154,086.83 and Dagadu, deputy energy Minister GHS293,779.73.

This was discarded and they rather opted for the basic salary of the current office holders as at March 31, 2015. So the calculation was based on all the years worked, the monthly rate multiplied by 3 for every year. The current CEO earns GHS40,566. Tsatsu Tsikata worked for nearly 13 years. This gave him GHS1.48 million. Esther Cobbah’s was based on the current GHS15,500 for her 12 years giving her GHS543,569.81. Deputy Minister Dagadu who worked with GNPC for over 21 years got GHS985.000 at a monthly rate of GHS15,500.

Asafu-adjei who worked for nearly 20 years substantively as Exploration Manager got GHS923,415. The court formula would have given him 394,276.05”.

And they are doing this because they can get away with it. Unless we get whistle blowers like the person who sent this inside piece to us, we cannot find stolen monies. And just see the affront. You assume you are still working at a company and earning what the executives earn today and use that as a basis for computation of your ex-gratia. Where is this done?

Let’s sit up in Ghana. This canker is deep, but can be uprooted. We should not allow just anybody who wins a popularity contest to Parliament to barge his or her way into “powa” and mount the corruption ground.

Ghana, Aha a yε din papa. Alius atrox week advenio. Another terrible week to come!

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