August 13, 2014

The Member of Parliament for Pru East has played down suggestions by the Minority that the country may not be able to access the second compact of the Millennium Challenge Account.

While agreeing that a lot of work is needed for Ghana to access the fund, Dr Kwabena Donkor remains highly optimistic that it can be done.

Ghana’s President John Mahama signed the agreement with the US last week to access the $498 million second compact of the Millennium Challenge Account but the West African country would have to meet certain conditionalities before the amount is disbursed.

The Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei on Tuesday raised doubts about Ghana’s ability to access the $498 million second compact of the Millennium Challenge Account due to what he said were the stringent conditionalities Ghana had to meet. One of the key conditionalities is reform of the energy sector.

Dr. Akoto argued the country had for decades attempted to reform the energy sector but has achieved very little.

He wondered how, the Mahama-led administration will be able to reform the energy sector in the next few months to enable it access the fund on which an agreement was signed at a colourful ceremony in the US last week.

“The conditionalities are such that I will be surprised if the grant comes. So don’t say we did not tell you so. We are being asked to reform in the energy sector which is the difficult reform anybody can do,” he stated.

In a reaction, Dr Kwabena Donkor admitted the task ahead is quite herculean but was quick to add it was doable.

He said a great deal of work has started already in a bid to reform the energy sector, citing the creation of GRIDCO, the introduction of Independent Power Producers (IPP) as some of the interventions.

He also admitted an apparent lack of commitment by governments to see to a complete overhaul of the energy sector.

Dr Kwabena Donkor however said the MCA second compact is just the right motivation for government to ensure it carries out a comprehensive reform of the energy sector in order to access the second compact.

The Executive Director of the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam who was contributing to the discussion, stated that reform in the energy sector should not be an impossible task.

He stated that steps have been taken at all levels in the energy sector to ensure private sector participation .

He would rather the government improved on its management of the economy, stating that with the rate at which the cedi is falling, no private sector will be interested in investing in the sector.