Angry Mahama Demotes Energy & Petroleum Minister

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Sets Up New Ministry of Power For Vocal MP To Justify Himself

The President, John Dramani Mahama, last Saturday demoted his Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, by nominating the very vocal Dr. Kwabena Donkor, Member of Parliament (MP) for Pru East and Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Energy, as Minister for a newly created Ministry of Power.

While, Mr. Buah, has been very comfortable at post, despite the power crisis the country is grappling with, the President Mahama, has come under heavy criticism with many saying, he is clueless about the electricity situation.

Dr. Donkor, has given the impression through his utterances that he is the solution to Ghana’s energy crisis.

Indeed, a statement from the Office of the President and signed by the Chief of Staff, Prosper Bani, said, “the establishment of the Ministry forms part of a restructuring of the power sector to ensure more stability and security of power”.

The Herald, early last week learnt that “a very livid President Mahama” on Monday, summoned a meeting of energy chiefs and told them in the face that, henceforth, he would not hesitate to fire anyone of them if the power crisis persist, and that he would no longer countenance any sabotage, arising from underperformance.

The only person, who was absent at the meeting was Rev. Ing. William Hutton-Mensah, who has since been replaced with his deputy, Robert Dwamena, as Acting Managing Director of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

The newly created ministry, came less than 24 hours after the sacking of Rev. Ing. William Hutton-Mensah, who many have argued could not be blamed for the power crisis, because he was only a distributor of what has been assigned him by the Volta River Authority (VRA), Bui Power Authority (BPA) and others, to share to consumers.

The Chief of Staff’s statement said that “the President expects the new Ministry to bring about a sharper focus on the generation, supply and efficiency of power to match the growth the economy is experiencing” adding, “when approved by parliament, the new Minister will be expected to mobilise all human and material resources available to resolve the current challenges facing the power sector”.

The first statement signed by the Chief of Staff ,which announced the sacking of Rev. Ing. William Hutton-Mensah as ECG MD, said he was to report to the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum for re-assignment after his annual leave.

Mr. Dwamena, the Director of Procurements at the ECG, started his career with the Engineering Directorate of the Company in 1982.

President Mahama, has meanwhile asked the Omanhene of Abeadze and President of the Central Regional House of Chiefs, Daasebre Kwebu Ewusi VII, to act as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the ECG. It follows the resignation of Tony Oteng Gyasi on health grounds.

Dr. Kwabena Donkor, recently took issues with the country’s over- reliance on gas supply from Nigeria for power generation, insisting that those using that as an excuse for the country’s energy crisis were not fit to be in office.

“How many times have we not known that this supply was unreliable? Since when has gas supply from Nigeria been reliable?

It has historically been unreliable and the least you can do in planning is to plan with the fact that gas from Nigeria cannot be depended upon, so let’s look at alternatives,” he said speaking at a roundtable discussion in Accra on the expectations and the way forward for the country’s energy sector.
It was organised by the Institute of Green Growth Solutions, a non-governmental organisation.

Meanwhile, a former Chief Executive of the Volta River Authority (VRA), Dr. Wereko-Brobby, has said that the new Ministry of Power, set up by government will not solve Ghana’s energy crises.

The former CEO of the VRA, believes the move will not make any significant impact.

Speaking on Citi FM’s news analysis programme, The Big Issue, on Saturday, Dr. Wereko-Brobby, advocated for the appointment of a minister of state at the presidency to oversee the power sector, rather than the creation of a new bureaucracy.

“A more technocratic organisation being supervised by a Minister in a President’s office, as a special minister, will save us all the cost of creating directors, chief directors which is not what is required to solve the power problem,” the former VRA boss suggested.

He pointed out that though President Mahama, has not erred in setting up a new ministry to deal with the energy crises, “the Ministry of Power is not what is required to solve the problem.”

“We owe Asogli over $100 million, we owe GRIDCO, we owe even VRA itself, because it is trying to make arrangement to buy crude when gas doesn’t flow. It cannot do it because it is not getting the proportions of the revenue that you and I pay,” Dr. Wereko-Brobby explained.

Meanwhile, corroborating the arguments made by Dr. Wereko-Brobby, the Director of Programmes at the Africa Centre for Energy Policy, (ACEP) Benjamin Boakye said, the power sector needs financing to address the current power challenges and not a new ministry.

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