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Opposition to VRA assets sale intensifies

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The Institute for Energy Security (IES) has challenged government to provide evidence backing its claim that the Volta River Authority (VRA) is inefficient.

This comes after the President disclosed in parliament in February 2017 the possibility of listing VRA and Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCO) on the Stock Exchange.

Subsequently, the Minister of Finance has also indicated a restructuring of the power sector by bringing all hydropower generation under VRA and creating a thermal market under a new entity (SPV) with private sector participation, after suggesting that the authority is inefficient.

However the IES argues that that the VRA is saddled with operational and financial challenges as a result of successive government’s actions which include making decisions for VRA without the authority’s involvement.

In an interview with Citi Business News, Principal Research Analyst of the Institute for Energy Security, Richmond Rockson said government should focus on paying all debts owed VRA rather than selling off some of its assets.

“VRA’s major problem has to do with its finances and the finances has been because VRA is providing fuel for IPPs which government is not paying, all the IPPs that VRA provides fuel for is in the books of VRA but the government is not paying”, he said.

He added, “Ghana Gas has supplied VRA with natural gas to the tune of over five hundred million dollars which government has not paid. ECG when it sells power is unable to get its revenue back to be able to pay VRA, largely the concerns have been financial and once you pay those monies and you collect them VRA should be okay”.

VRA asset sale to cause labour security

Energy sector analysts have raised labour security concerns with the government’s decision to sell off some thermal assets of the Volta River Authority (VRA).

They argue that the move may spark protests if unmanaged properly.

The workers union of the VRA has heavily resisted the decision.

They insist that the decision is an indication of being side-stepped by government.

But the Director of Research at the Institute of Energy and Climate Change Policy (IECP); Dr. Philip Adom tells Citi Business News there should be enough consultation to avert any crisis.

“If we are going to decouple that section of their responsibility to a private entity, then we have labour security. So they have every cause to complain that is why I initially asked whether enough consultations were done before government came to this announcement because if something is not done, then I find the decision very unfortunate.”

“I think the workers really have a case and if the issue of non-engagement is true, then that was unfortunate. By decoupling, obviously I mean giving the courage, I’m sure some people managed the thermal ….and currently we are not using them,” Dr. Philip Adom added.

By: Anita Arthur/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana

Ghana Business News