News blackout from GNA after ECG cuts power over GH¢450,000 debt

GNAIt’s been over 24 hours and there is news blackout at Ghana’s only news wire, the Ghana News Agency (GNA), because the Electricity Company of Ghana has cut electricity to the Agency.

Power was cut Tuesday July 5, 2016, when negotiations for time to settle the bill failed, has learned.

Some reporters who spoke to on conditions of anonymity say they have been asked not to write about it. And so while, the GNA is shut in darkness, the country doesn’t seem to be aware.

A source within the GNA management who also asked not to be named told on the phone that the Agency owed the ECG an outstanding bill of GH¢450,000 when it was on the post-paid meter.

The debt has accumulated from 2010 to the latter part of 2015, the source said. In the last eight months, the Agency has been on the prepaid system.

“We are now on the pre-paid meter which we have been servicing. But the debt was on the post-paid meter, which ECG is demanding that we settle. But we are unable to, because we not generate enough revenue internally to meet that obligation,” the source said.

The sources, however, are hopeful that, by Thursday July 7, the issue would have been resolved.

The GNA, which was established on the eve of Ghana’s independence, March 5, 1957 by Kwame Nkrumah was meant to tell the story of Ghana and Africa.

At the time it was established, the GNA was the only news wire in sub-Saharan Africa and was aimed at competing with the best in other parts of the world.

The current General Manager, Mr. Bernard Otabil, was appointed three years ago, and at that time he held so much promise for the Agency, but he is leaving to head a new communication department at the Bank of Ghana.

On his LinkedIn page he describes himself as having “varied experience in the field of accounting, finance (Investment banking and microfinance), software innovation and development issues in general.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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