The Alliance of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working on Extractives, Anti-Corruption, and Good Governance have expressed concern over plans by the Energy Ministry to relocate the Ameri Power plant.
The Energy Ministry led by Matthew Opoku Prempeh, is planning to relocate the Ameri Plant from Takoradi to Kumasi to ensure a stable supply of power to the middle belt.
As revealed by the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), although the relocation of the plant from Takoradi to Kumasi according to the Energy Ministry, will cost $35.6 million, the cost involved is actually $25.48.
“The Minister quotes $35.6 million as the cost of the relocation in his 17th December 2021 letter to VRA. However, ACEP has sighted the original proposal from Mytilineos SA dated 22nd March 2021 to the Ministry, quoting $25.48 million for the same.
“Instead of negotiating the proposal of the sole-sourced offer downwards, the contract cost has instead increased by 40 percent. It is unclear what accounts for such a quantum leap from the proposal amount by Mytilineos SA,” ACEP recently disclosed in a statement.
Following that revelation, Energy Minister in an interview alleged that ACEP is only against the relocation of the Plant, because it has something against the people of Kumasi.
Reacting to the claims at a press conference in Accra yesterday, the Alliance of CSOs working on Extractives, Anti-Corruption, and Good Governance, has implored the Minister to desist from personal attacks on ACEP.
Accusing the Minister of diversionary tactics, the CSOs, want him to instead respond to the real issues at hand with a focus on how best to solve the challenges facing the energy sector.
“We demand that the Minister of Energy should constructively engage on the core issues raised rather than divert public attention from them. We understand that the overall aim is to stabilize power in the middle belt and hence discussion should focus on how to efficiently achieve this objective,” Executive Director of the Centre for Extractive and Development, Africa, Samuel Bekoe told the media today.
He stressed that it is the view of the CSOs working on Extractives, Anti-Corruption, and Good Governance that a competitive bidding process should be used to award the contract for the relocation of the Ameri Plant.
Through that, he says the country can save cost to reduce the growing debt crippling the energy sector.
“The Ministry of Energy should revisit the concerns on the need for adopting a competitive bidding process to accommodate local contractors to achieve the most optimal contract cost,” Samuel Bekoe shared.
He added, “We maintain that the Minister, should consider other options which we believe are far optimal option than the attempts to relocate plants and its attendant unnecessary cost additions. For instance, retooling National Interconnected Transmission Systems (NITS).”
Additionally, the CSOs working on Extractives, Anti-Corruption, and Good Governance want Cabinet and Parliament to assume critical responsibility for the efficient planning of the sector.
The CSOs argue that, these decisions among others have contributed to the current economic difficulties being faced in the country.
Earlier ACEP boss, Benjamin Boakye had taken to Facebook to write on this matter, saying “So the Minister of Energy took to another radio station and continued to use the tribal card as his technical anchor for decisions he’s making and the current debate on priority investments in the power sector.
“We stay focused on what’s necessary for Ghana. We will continue to use limited spaces to inform the public, as we cannot command the hours of interviews as the Minister has done in a week.
Here’s a shot from the tariff proposal of GRICo highlighting the critical need for SVCs in the National Interconnected Transmission System (NITS). The total cost estimate for the critical SVCs is ~$133m (Kumasi’s immediate SVC need is ~$65m).
We maintain that investment in SVCs and effective output management in Bui solve the load challenges in Kumasi immediately, and provide a useful loop for the contracted power plants. At the same time, the debt situation in the energy sector (already $1.2 billion in 2022) is managed.
Why is the Minister prioritising the cost-inflated relocation and O&M at $71.6m with no guarantees of immediate fix for the voltage challenges, given that relocation also depends on gas transportation infrastructure that continues to delay.
System planning is our priority, not tribal hate, which has become a masterful diversionary tactic of the minister.
If the tariff goes up because of poor decisions Kumasi also pays. Already PURC has not been able to publish the new tariff, because the process has become like a garbage bin, receiving unnecessary cost variables.