‘Court derailing recovery of $200 million from PDS’
Deputy Energy Minister-Designate, William Owuraku Aidoo, has blamed the courts for failing to retrieve $200 million from Power Distribution Services (PDS).
Providing an update on efforts to recoup the money, Mr Aidoo said, “It is a subject of court, but the wheel of justice, unfortunately, turns to grind a little on the slow side.”
“When the issues will be resolved, I am afraid I cannot sit here and say,” he explained when he appeared at the Appointments Committee of Parliament on Thursday, June 3.
According to a member of the Appointments Committee, PDS was expected to transfer the funds to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) following the government’s termination of their contract.
MP for Bawku Central Mahama Ayariga claimed that PDS had refused to forward the money to ECG, together with accruing interest.
Responding to the issue, Mr Aidoo admitted that there was some money in an account to be transferred to ECG.
However, de declined to disclose the figure.
“I took steps to find out exactly what was happening with the money, and the response I got from my contacts at PDS and ECG was that they were yet to sit down to do some reconciliation, after which they will see their way clearly,” he added.
On prosecution following the termination of the PDS deal, he said the Attorney General had conducted investigations, but no evidence was found against any individual to warrant prosecution.
When quizzed why the government has expanded only 2% of rural electrification compared to 83% under the past National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration and 85% since 2017, Mr Aidoo said it was due to uncompleted projects.
“The NPP (New Patriotic Party) government embarked on so many projects but could not complete them. I will look to complete these projects when appointed,” the nominee disclosed.
Other sources of energy
The committee pointed out that the maintenance of solar energy was high, adding that certain individuals steal the solar equipment after installation at public places.
The Deputy Energy Minister said he would address the challenge once he is given the nod.
He observed that the government was embarking on diversifying the country’s energy mix with solar and wind energy to curtail overreliance on hydroelectric power for electricity.
“We have to resort to renewable energy, and that is where we are heading,” he stated.
Northern zone electrification
He told the committee that the Northern part of the country would soon benefit from a “$50 million thank you project, which is in the pipeline.”
This is earmarked for the Northern regions alone, and when that is completed, it will go a long way in addressing the gap between the northern part of Ghana and the southern part, he remarked.
Uncompleted projects and debt
He suggested that the ministry should halt new contracts and concentrate on completing all existing projects.
Ghana has one of the highest electrification rates in sub-Saharan Africa, with more than 70% of rural areas and 95% of urban dwellers having access to electricity.
A recent drive to develop the country’s electricity infrastructure saw an installed generation capacity of 4780 megawatts as of 2019.
However, this development brought its own challenges, including oversupply in the system, resulting in the government paying for the power it did not utilise.
He said power purchase agreements (PPAs) are being negotiated in addition to an energy sector programme to resolve the huge debt in the sector.