In opposition, Boakye Agyarko, made a name for himself as an expert in energy, but since becoming the Energy Minister in the Akufo-Addo government, he continuous to justify why he must be removed based on incompetence and nonperformance.
From his vetting by the Parliament’s Appointment Committee (PAC), to his entry in the Ministry, Boakye Agyarko, has been hit by scandal upon scandal, which has affected his performance at the Ministry.
Currently, Boakye Agyarko, is battling two disasters; confusion at the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) resulting in thousands of consumers, including companies unable to purchase prepaid credits, due to server challenges and the diversion of several thousands of gallons of premix fuel meant for fishermen which has been subsidized by the taxpayer at millions of Ghana cedis.
In both instances, members of the public, have been left distressed with little or no leadership coming from the Ministry of Energy headed by Boakye Agyarko.
In some instance, it had taken President Akufo-Addo himself, to step in by calling the sector heads in-charge of the institutions to have sanity prevail.
The Herald has counted the botched Ameri investigations, the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST) 5 million-litre contaminated fuel and the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) cover-up, confrontations with the staff of ECG, over his poor handling of the ongoing privatization and his inability to convince the public to accept the ever-increasing prices of petroleum products.
The Energy Minister, has also had difficulties honouring the New Patriotic Party (NPP) promise to remove what they had in opposition described as “nuisance taxes” which made the cost of electricity very expensive.
The levies include; the Energy Debt Recovery Levy (EDRL), Price Stabilization Levy and Recovery Levy, Public Lighting Levy (PLL), National Electrification Scheme Levy (NESL), Road Fund Levy and Energy Fund Levy which were enacted under the Energy Sector Levies Act, 2015.
Yesterday, the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) hinted at possible sanctions against the ECG over consumers’ inability to purchase prepaid power due to server challenges.
The situation had created long and winding queues across the Accra Metropolis with both public and private workers having to abandon their jobs in search of the prepaid credits to purchase.
As early as 3am, hundreds of customers were seen at some ECG offices in long queues waiting for their turn to purchase prepaid credit.
Some of the frustrated individuals told FM stations that they have been unable to purchase prepaid credit from ECG for several days, and called for government’s intervention.
A statement signed by PURC’s Executive Secretary, Mrs. Mami Dufie Ofori, indicated that the commission has requested ECG to show reason why it should not be punished for the recent challenges.
PURC is “requesting the company (ECG) to show cause in respect of monetary penalties to be imposed with a response deadline of December 8, 2017 in accordance with due process”.
The commission further plans to undertake comprehensive independent investigations into ECG’s IT infrastructure to ascertain the root cause of the system failure which will inform further regulatory actions.
PURC said after investigations, they have ordered ECG to “immediately augment its help desks in all affected district offices to deal with the large number of customers and inform the public of the measures being undertaken to resolve the problem”.
Additionally, PURC has “issued initial time-bound directives to ECG to submit details of its emergency response measures carried out”.
On the Premix Fuel, the government has cited a syndicate made of oil marketing companies, landing beach committee members, as well as transporters it claims are behind the diversion of premix fuel.
A joint statement issued by the Ministries of Energy, Fisheries and Aquaculture, and the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), stated the syndicate after loading the premix fuel from the Tema Oil Refinery fail to deliver the products to the desired destination.
Over 200 cases of premix diversions have been recorded this year alone, costing the nation over 22 million cedis.
The phenomenon which was rife in 2005, appear to rear its ugly head with the change in government.
The Minority in Parliament is demanding the arrest of the members of the landing beach committee who are said to have signed for the products but have nothing to show for it.
The Ranking Member on the Mines and Energy Committee, Adams Mutawakilu, said the arrest of the committee members would be the first point in getting to the bottom of the diversion.
He was, however, convinced government is covering up the rot and is refusing to prosecute the syndicate involved in the diversion.
But the government has confirmed the diversions, stating its preliminary checks have revealed the perpetrators do not deliver to the appropriate destinations after loading.
It, however, failed to name the OMCs and the other syndicate involved.
In the statement, the government outlined a number of steps, including the closing down of premix outlets it believes do not meet requirement.
“The supply of premix fuel to the lake region will be restricted to the various ports,” the statement said.
The statement said “The Ministries of Energy & Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, National Petroleum Authority (NPA) and National Premix Fuel Committee (NPFC) wish to inform the general public that we have been following with keen interest various media reports on the issue of the diversion of premix fuel”.
It claimed that “we wish to note that preliminary checks have revealed that the perpetrators are made up of some Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs), Landing Beach Committees and Transporters. The perpetrators, after loading the premix fuel from Tema Oil Refinery, do not deliver the products to the desired destinations”.
It added that “we wish to assure the general public that the Ministries of Energy & Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, National Petroleum Authority and the National Premix Fuel Committee are taking pragmatic steps to curtail such acts”.
Hence at a meeting held on Wednesday, November 29, 2017, it was agreed that the following actions should be taken:
- All premix fuel outlets must be reviewed and those that do not meet the requirements closed down.
2. Supply of premix fuel to the lake region will be restricted to the various ports (market centres)
3. There must be an improved collaboration between the Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, National Petroleum Authority and the National Premix Fuel Committee;
4. Going forward, increased and wider stakeholder consultation will be employed in a bid to reform the premix sector;
5. The NPFC will cease supply to the suspected OMCs; and
6. The NPA and NPFC will continue with investigations and those found culpable will be brought to book;
The Ministries of Energy & Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, NPA and National Premix Fuel Committee express their gratitude to the public for their patience and understanding.