The Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Mines and Energy, Samuel Atta-Akyea, has called on his cousin the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, to immediately engage with the Chamber of Independent Power Producers of Ghana (IPPG) to clear outstanding arrears owed to the IPPs.
The power producers, had threatened to switch off their power plants last Saturday, however, following productive discussions with the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), they agreed to keep operating their power plants beyond July 1, 2023.
To facilitate this, the IPPs have received payment offers from ECG to support their operations temporarily. But there are reports of selective payments of the GH¢1.7 billion debt owed to the IPPs by the government, however, this has been denied.
Mr Atta-Akyea charged “it is a financial matter and the Finance Minister must find a way to ensure that even if they will be met in some reasonable terms, they should do it. If you don’t have the money, but there is goodwill to pay some of the money, it will urge them to give you the power and so that is the whole point of the matter but when you take a stand against you not paying them at all, then you are trying to dare them to cut the power.”
The Abuakwa North MP, said that measures were being put in place by the government to forestall a shutdown of power plants by Independent Power Producers on Saturday, July 1.
The lawmaker said the government is taking the necessary measures to prevent the dire implications of the IPPs cutting power.
Speaking to journalists in Parliament, Mr. Atta Akyea denied claims of selective payment of the GH¢1.7 billion debt owed to the IPPs.
“The independent power producers are concerned about the necessity that they should be paid and if you pay one, and you don’t pay the other and the power is withdrawn, what will be the consequences, and so I don’t think that the Minister of Finance will do that kind of thing of paying some and not paying others.”
“The government is acutely aware of the implication of withdrawing power from the system and so the government is doing everything to ensure that it doesn’t come to that,” he said while asking the Minister of Finance to engage with the IPPs on outstanding arrears.
The Government of Ghana (GOG) and ECG arrangement allows some breathing space to address the outstanding arrears in the energy sector and fulfill their contractual obligations.
The IPPs expressed optimism that this agreement would contribute to finding a permanent solution to the energy sector debt. However, they emphasized that if the desired outcome is not achieved and the outstanding issues remain unresolved, the IPPs may be forced to revert to their previous decision to shut down without further notice.
The IPPs expressed their gratitude to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Mines and Energy, Mr Atta-Akyea, John Jinapor as well as the other committee members, for their timely intervention and assistance in facilitating the fruitful engagement between the IPPs and ECG.
Furthermore, the IPPs acknowledged the valuable support and involvement of their respective lenders and shareholders in the discussions aimed at resolving the outstanding debt issues.
The Chairman of the IPPs stated that they are pleased to have reached an interim understanding with ECG, enabling them to continue operating their power plants for the benefit of the Ghanaian people. The IPPs recognized the importance of their operations to the nation and reaffirmed their joint commitment to delivering reliable power to Ghana. They also expressed appreciation for the support and collaboration received from the general public and all well-meaning Ghanaians throughout the process.
The IPPs reiterated their commitment to actively engage with the Government of Ghana and ECG on an individual basis to address the remaining financial issues. They will work towards a sustainable resolution that effectively resolves the challenges at hand.
The Chamber of Independent Power Producers of Ghana is confident that ongoing cooperation will lead to a mutually beneficial solution. They believe that this cooperation is essential for the Chamber to continue making a significant contribution to the development and stability of the energy sector in Ghana and the overall economy.