The US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson says the US government through the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) is not proposing the privatisation of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
Speaking to journalists today May 18, 2016 in Accra during the signing ceremony for a $740,000 grant to Home Energy Africa Limited targeting a 100-megawatt solar power photovoltaic (PV) project in the village of Nyimbale-Sankana, in the Upper West Region of Ghana, he said there has been so much discussion about the MCA and its connection to the privatization of ECG. He however emphasised that ECG will continue to be a public utility owned by the people of Ghana.
In December 2014, Mr Frank Ocran, Chairman of the Stakeholders Consultation Committee on Energy, told the media in Accra that the Ghana government was considering its options towards the privatisation of ECG by the middle of 2015. He said the move follows Ghana’s qualification to receive $500 million under the Compact Two of the MCA to help turn the energy sector around.
Citing unreliable and inadequate supply of electric power as one of Ghana’s paramount constraints to economic growth, a situation which Mr. Jackson says is a challenge seen throughout sub-Saharan Africa – where two out of three people lack access to electricity – he noted that the situation hinders business, and it hinders prosperity.
“Businesses and entrepreneurs need electricity to function, so they can contribute to the broad-based economic growth and development that will lift millions out of poverty.”
“That’s why we have made increasing access to power one of the top priorities for our bilateral relationship. Presently, Ghana has 2,450 megawatts of installed generation capacity. The government of Ghana aspires to double that capacity to 5,000 megawatts this year, including 10 percent from renewable sources. Through programmes such as Power Africa, the Partnership for Growth, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, we’re cooperating with government, the private sector and others to make Ghana’s future brighter, literally,” he said.
Mr. Jackson noted that through the agreement, the US Trade and Development Agency will provide more than $700,000 to Home Energy Africa – a Ghanaian renewable energy solutions provider for technical assistance to develop the 100
megawatt solar photovoltaic power generation project.
He indicated that Home Energy will work with a US firm, GreenMax Capital Advisors to finalize the legal and financial details necessary to bring the solar project to fruition and start generating electricity.
Answering questions from journalists, Charles Sena Ayenu, the CEO of Home Energy Africa said the company is looking at debt and equity financing for the $150 million solar project. He said the company has already secured a 30 per cent equity from a French company, the Erin Group and the other 70 per cent, the company expects to raise from debt.
He also indicated that the project is expected to be completed by 2017 and power production would begin in 2018.
He told journalists that ECG will be the off-taker of the power to be generated.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi
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