The Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), has said that the government’s decision to review portions of the Electricity Company of Ghana’s (ECG) concession agreement under the Power Compact II arrangement, makes the deal better than it was under the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.
According to the Center, although it would have wished to see a more drastic review, the change, although minor, will protect the interest of ECG workers.
President Akufo-Addo, while delivering his 2017 May Day address, said the government has resolved to keep more than the 20 percent control agreed by the former government, to protect the workers.
Under the agreement, the government is expected to allow about 80 percent private sector control in ECGfor the country to benefit from a cash injection of about one billion US dollars over a period of 5 years.
But Nana Akufo-Addo said, “Government has amended the terms of the concession agreement to require that one; Ghanaians own at least 51 percent of the concession. Two, there should be no involuntary layoffs as a result of the concession,” he stressed, adding that, “the term of the concession will be reduced from 25 years to 20 years”
“We believe that these amendments meet the aspiration of Ghanaians in protecting the jobs of workers and ensuring the control and viability of ECG. We are as concerned as the workers that, the reform should not lead to involuntary job losses and we should find a long-term solution to the nation’s electricity problem,” he added.
Speaking on Eyewitness News on Tuesday, Dr. Steve Manteaw, the Campaign Coordinator for ISODEC, said, “What the previous government had settled for, for me was not good enough, workers had the guarantee of only 5 years in which they would not be laid off within 5 years…The current government has been very open to engaging with all stakeholders, an opportunity we didn’t have under the previous government.”
“We welcome the news that the concession has been amended to give job security to the workers and to split the arrangement to vary it from a sole concessionaire arrangement to something like a joint venture,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Public Utilities Workers’ Union, PUWU, has also commended the government for the reviewed arrangements of the Power Compact II agreement, although they are unhappy that government failed to hold talks with them to consider all their challenges before taking a decision on the review.
The General Secretary of PUWU, Michael Adumatta Nyantakyi in an interview with Citi News said, “this has come to us as strange news because the President during the State of the Nation Address said he was going to organize a dialogue between labour, ECG and MiDA to discuss the details surrounding this concession before any firm position is taken, unfortunately, that did not happen…. If that kind of consultation had taken place prior to this announcement and some details provided, I strongly believe that the workers would have been happier.”
The Government of Ghana signed the Ghana Power Compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), an independent United States government agency, on the sidelines of the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington on August 5, 2014.
The Ghana Power Compact would provide Ghana with a grant of four hundred and ninety-eight million, two hundred thousand United States Dollars (US$498,200,000) to improve the performance of Ghana’s power sector, unlock the country’s economic potential, create jobs, and reduce poverty.
About US$350 million of the grant is being invested in ECG to make the country’s power distributor operationally and financially more efficient.