Shaikh Almed Bin Dalmook Al Maktoum, Ameri Boss John Peter Amewu, Energy Minister
Africa and Middle East Resources Investment Group, AMERI Energy, has expressed its willingness to partner with the government of Ghana over the renegotiated deal which was laid in parliament last week.
Mustafa Ahmed, CEO of Ameri Energy, is quoted in a statement as saying “we are always happy to address any misconceptions about our work, and we’ve engaged in a constructive dialogue with the government and all stakeholders.”
“Now, having found a solution, we’re grateful not only for the government’s directness, but for their renewed faith in us as a company to bring reliable and affordable power to Ghanaians . Our Takoradi project has proved a vital artery of power for the country. We’re also proud that it’s power has remained totally uninterrupted from day one.”
The government has said the renegotiated contract will save Ghana $51 million and went ahead to withdraw the controversial AMERI novation agreement before Parliament and replaced it with a new one it described as ‘enhanced’.
AMERI originally entered into the short-term BOOT (Build, Operate, Own, Transfer) deal, during the time of severe power shortages across Ghana.
The plant was built within four months, and contains state-of-the-art turbine technology, according to AMERI.
AMERI also said it has trained more than 80 per cent of local staff in the maintenance and operation of the plant.
“We remain committed to providing more jobs and training to our workforce – we are a firm dedicated to providing opportunities on a local level, in operations, maintenance and management,” Mr. Ahmed said.
“What matters most now, as it did when we began this project, is that the Ghanaian people have access to energy that is reliable and inexpensive. We very much look forward to our future operations in Ghana, partnering with government and the private sector to develop one of Africa’s most dynamic economies,” the statement concluded.
The Herald on Monday reported that it has cited the “renegotiated and enhanced terms” power management contract between the Government of Ghana and the Africa and Middle East Resources Investment Group (AMERI Energy) and discovered a gift of US$51.34 million from the 250MW emergency power generators.
But the US$51.34 million gift from AMERI to Ghana, was necessitated by the Akufo-Addo government’s difficulties with raising the US$10 million monthly payments to the company, it is, however, based on how promptly the government meets the new terms, which enjoined the country to begin settling its debts by November 1, 2018.
Sadly, the government according to AMERI insiders, only released the warrant on the US$10 million last week, with a promise that Bank of Ghana (BoG) will make payment later this week.
This means the government, has once again failed in meeting its financial obligations, and this might force AMERI Energy to also withdraw the US$51.34 million gift offer.
Additional details captured by the new agreement placed in Parliament last week, revealed the absence of Mytilineos International Trading Company Ltd.
The Greece-based company, which was to make some US$1 billion in 15 years from Ghana, after buying out AMERI Energy and managing the 250MW emergency power plant, per arrangement cooked and packaged by the sacked Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko, will play no role in the new agreement.
The agreement showed, the government desperately cleaning its mess after the embarrassing situation, which led to the sacking of the then Energy Minister.
The new deal was brokered by Energy Minister, John Peter Amewu and Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, representing government, while Mustapha Ahmed, the current Chief Executive Officer of AMERI in Dubai and Francis Kpolu, the Ghanaian representative for AMERI, represented the power provider.
Ghana, will take charge of the power equipment in 2021, after satisfactorily completing the payment of US$335 million to AMERI.
Currently, the government owes AMERI Energy a whopping US$90 million, being outstanding debt, following Boakye Agyarko’s decision to stop the country’s payment obligations to the company per the terms and conditions agreed upon between the Mahama government and AMERI in February 2015, during the height of the energy crisis.
But the company, has agreed to have government settle the US$90 million over a period of seven months, including a grace period of three months.
The Akufo-Addo government is, however, expected to provide a Standby Letter of Credit for the remaining terms of the agreement.
During the renegotiations, the Ministry of Energy, involved the Ministry of Finance and sought a legal opinion from the office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice, something the sacked Boakye Agyarko, failed to do with the Novation and Amendments contract which favoured Mytilineos International.
The new agreement, which is available to The Herald, revealed that the Attorney General and Minister of Justice by a letter dated October 15, 2018, reviewed the agreement and approved it.
Same Gloria Akuffo, had earlier this year, said there was nothing wrong with the February 2015 agreement signed by the Mahama government.
The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), had tagged the deal as corrupt, while in opposition and promised to review it if voted for.
It was further revealed that, the Office of the President by a letter dated November 30, 2018, got Cabinet to approve the renegotiated Build Own Operate and Transfer (BOOT) Agreement between Ghana and AMERI Energy.
In the previous agreement, the Executive Secretary to the President, Nana Asante Bediatuo, had claimed that President Akufo-Addo on July 31 by an Executive Order, approved the Novation and Amendment Agreement of the AMERI Energy deal, seeking to buy out the $510million deal from Ameri and hand it over to a third company, Mytilineos for 15 years.
The President’s Executive Order, came after the joint Parliamentary committee of Finance and Mines and Energy, rejected the approval of the agreement before it rose on July 28, 2018.
However, The Herald, has in its custody the confidential Cabinet memorandum dated November 30, 2018 and signed by the Secretary to the Cabinet, Mercy Debrah-Karikari.
She stated that, Cabinet on Thursday November 29, 2018 at its Forty-Fourth Meeting, considered a report from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Matters jointly submitted by the Ministers of Energy and Finance.
Energy and Finance Ministers, who both signed the document stated that government renegotiated the terms of the existing agreement with the objective to reduce the overall cost of the plant and its operations, including the Financial Obligations of the state under the agreement hoping to improve on the payment terms of the outstanding debts, and other payments due AMERI.
Mr Amewu and Ofori-Atta, said considering the benefits to be derived from the renegotiated terms of the agreement, namely the savings to be made in the amount of US$51.34 million, as well as the liquidity space the new terms provides the government, through the deferral of an amount of US$53.91 million to a period after the expiry of the BOOT Agreement, Parliament is respectfully requested to consider and approve it.
The payment of the outstanding debt of US$90 million to AMERI, has also been agreed by the parties to be spread over seven months starting from September 2018 to March 2019, with the following payment schedule;
- US$10 million by 1st November, 2018
- US$ 30 million by 1st January, 2019
- US$25 million by 1st February, 2019
- US$25 million by 1st March, 2019
AMERI, agreed to waive all interest charges on the payments of the outstanding debt of US$90 million and also agreed to waive all variable cost of US$16.6 million annually, equivalent to US$41.5 million for the remaining two and half years of agreement.
Payments for the cost of the asset for the remaining two and half years of the agreement amounting US$255 million monthly, shall be made by paying US$191.25 million at US$6.37 monthly.
“The balance of US$63.75 which will be deferred to one (1) year after the expiry date of the Boot Agreement will be reduced to US$53.91 million and will be paid by GoG at equal installment of US$4.49 for twelve (12) months” it said.
The reduction in the deferred amount from US$63.75 million to US$53.91 million, will result from AMERI’s US$7 million unconditional discount on the deferred amount aside a 5percent discount or (US$2.82 million) on the monthly invoice when payment is prompt.
In addition, AMERI, shall waive interest charges of US$6.7 million on the payment of the deferred amount of US63.75 million. But government’s failure to ensure earlier payments will attract penalties.