Energy expert, Dr Yussif Sulemana, has revealed that Ghana’s energy sector is gravitating towards a difficult terrain, especially with the rising debt to Independent Power Producer (IPPs) in the country.
According to him, the situation is disturbing, considering the ongoing meeting between IPPs and government, as the debt is expected to rise to about $2.2 billion at the end of the month. He indicated that on a closer monitoring at what’s going on now in the country, whatever Ghanaians consume on peak demand is almost equal to what’s available.
Owing to this, he stated that once the country is in that situation, it means “you are sitting on tenterhooks”.
“Indeed, that’s so worrying and so disturbing to the extent that as at now, we seem not to be having a way out of this situation. I find it quite unfortunate because if you look at the time the IPPs started threatening since last month, the month gravitated to an end, only for a sort of a deal to be reached.
“It appears that whatever was reached, one party is not living up to expectations – in this case the government of Ghana. I just want to sound this bit of caution that it appears we are not appreciating the gravity of the situation we are facing here. If you roll back, you know that we had quite a number of hitches in the power sector and I’m saying that the power sector is gravitating towards a difficult terrain if we don’t handle it well…”Yussif Sulemana
Furthermore, Dr Sulemana noted that 65% to 70% of the country’s generation is still being occupied by thermal mix and gas is the main conduit that supplies energy to the kind of power generation it uses. With this, he noted that the IPPs are in the center of all this in terms of their contribution to the thermal mix.
“So, if we are not able to handle that because of financial weaknesses from outside and they leave us to the threat that they previously promised and there’s no recourse on that, we’re going to have difficulties. So, I just think that we are not putting our monies where our mouth is.
“We have to prioritize because they can’t give you power and you’re unable to pay back. That is not acceptable. The negotiation is also not encouraging. Onlookers are watching, and I think what is coming out is not something that is very encouraging, especially to the extent that we don’t have any clear cut in sight.”Dr Yussif Suleman
Addressing Ghana’s energy sector problems
To address the problem, Dr Sulemana urged the minister of finance to thoroughly engage these IPPs because there hasn’t been any major breakthrough between the ministry of finance and the IPPs. He revealed that the ministry has instead used ECG to “front”, whereby the latter came out with “something on the table that was pleasing to them, but it’s all beginning to appear that it’s vaporizing into thin air”.
“… As we speak now, they are having emergency meeting to see the way forward. As it is, nobody knows what the outcome of this meeting will be, we are just watching to find out… But I suspect it’s not going to be sounding positive. What I’m gathering is that they might be putting another threat on the table. But I will urge that cool heads should prevail because our power situation is not good, and we have to have a firm handle on our energy generation mix.”Dr Yussif Sulemana
Also, Dr Sulemana commended the Electricity Company Of Ghana for undertaking something substantial to address the energy sector problems. However, he called on ECG to ensure that the inherent inefficiency within the distribution mix is resolved because that has been the root cause of all the country’s power woes.
“If we give you power and you cannot return the power back, it means that you are just going to collapse business.”Dr Yussif Sulemana