July 29, 2013

The Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Parliament has accused the NDC administration of running Ghana’s energy sector into the ground, a development, it claims, has endangered key sectors of the Ghanaian economy.

At a news conference on Monday, Minority Spokesperson on Energy, K.T. Hammond said: “The energy sector is so riddled with corruption, inefficiency, indecision, self-interest and misguided and inappropriate policies that it has become a drag on the economic transformation of the country.”

He went on, “It is obvious that under the NDC Government, the Energy sector of Ghana has clearly become unfit for purpose and in need of a massive outbreak of sanity.”

To justify his comments, he cited what he called the “collapse” of Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST), the prevailing power crisis in the country and the crippling financial problems at the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) to back the Minority’s view that the energy sector has descended into an abyss.

The Adansi Asokwa NPP MP’s uncharitable comments about the state of Ghana’s energy sector come weeks after the World Bank of Office in Ghana released a damning report that slammed the government over its handling of key institutions of the sector.

Drawing inspiration from the World Bank’s view on the state of the Energy sector, K.T. Hammond said the “crisis” in the energy sector “is internally generated and is as a result of bad policies and indecisions of this government”.

He added: “The World Bank has recently reported that the economic damage inflicted by the current power shortfall is considerable. It blames the crisis on the Government’s policies and indecisions which have delayed investment in generation and which is the root cause of the current power shortage.

“And only a few days ago, Jonathan Bloom, the Vice President of the US Millennium Challenge Corporation stated bluntly, that a number of US firms prepared to invest in Ghana are holding back due to unreliable power supply.”

K.T Hammond also accused the government of mismanaging proceeds from the nation’s infant crude oil subsector and lampooned the Vice President, Kwesi Amissah Arthur, for poorly investing Ghana’s revenue from the Jubilee Oil fields in financial markets outside the country.

He said, “In the management of our oil revenue, even the nation’s central bank has not been helpful to the public.

In 2012, of the monies that the bank was asked to invest from the Heritage and Stabilisation Accounts, the bank only managed to make a paltry US$4,679 on an investment portfolio of US$54.8 million.

And on an investment of US$14.4 million, interest accruing was US$1,214.68 and yet for their efforts, the bank charged an astonishing US$ 1.74 million and this was all under the watch of the ‘financial guru’ who now heads the Economic Management Team as the Vice President of the republic of Ghana.

We can only pray that there is still time and space to steer ourselves towards the blessing of our oil resource.”

The former Deputy Minister for Energy under the Kufour rule then turned his guns on Dr Oteng Agyei, who served as Minister for Energy throughout the tenure of the Mills-led NDC government.

“…In a reckless display of ministerial authority and in a blatant disregard for the constitution of Ghana, a former Minister of Energy in the NDC Administration, unilaterally and without reference to the Attorney General of the day abrogated a petroleum agreement entered into with AKER SA of Norway and CHEMU GH Limited, which had been ratified by resolution of Parliament as required by the constitution.

“To resolve this matter out of court and of public glare, the NDC government paid out a whopping US$ 33million of Ghana’s oil money to AKER SA to placate it for the obvious illegality perpetuated by this government.”

What is sad, he said, is that “the abrogation was solely because the Ghanaian partner company of AKER appeared to have directors who were of an unacceptable political pedigree in the eyes of the NDC.”

“And what is worse, the block that was taken away from AKER SA/CHEMU GH Ltd remains unexplored and undeveloped. If this is not a clear case of causing financial loss to the country, I do not know what is,” he added.