Mr Joseph Cudjoe, the Minister of Public Enterprises, on Monday, commended the Management of the Volta River Authority (VRA), for working hard to remarkably reduce the huge financial indebtedness of the institution.
A presentation by the Authority showed that the VRA, had moved from a loss-making institution between the years 2012 to 2016, where it became highly indebted to the tune of GH¢1,320 million, to become a resilient, sustainable, and growing multi-business holding company, reducing its debt to GH¢127 million by the close of 2019, and anticipating a further reduction in its 2020 accounts.
Mr Cudjoe who gave the commendation during a visit to the VRA Head office in Accra, to acquaint himself with the operations of the institution, indicated that amazing story of the Authority’s financial turnaround, had revealed that generally, up to the period ending 2016, State Enterprises were poorly managed, with records showing the inability of some institutions to report on their audited financial statements for eight years.
He said from the indications given by the Management of the VRA, the 2020 audited financial statement of the Authority when completed, would report a marginal profit, meaning the turnaround period was complete, which was a good news.
The Minister explained that VRA was a solely state-owned entity and a key participant in the energy generation stage, together with ECG and GiDCO, who also worked at the transmission and distribution levels, to ensure the smooth delivery of electricity to consumers.
Therefore, the Authority’s role was very significant to the economy of Ghana as far as its participation in the energy generation business was concerned, as it was able to control the pricing of electricity through continuously generating cost-efficient power, and making it difficult for Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to make a case for higher prices within the same space.
“In this case, VRA becomes like a benchmark pricing for the rest, and so as one of its strategic ownership, so far as the Government of Ghana is concerned, VRA plays that significant role,” Mr Cudjoe added.
The Minister stated the strategy taken by VRA to achieve the turnaround and being successful at that, was commendable and reassuring for him as the Sector Minister, but the headache was to ensure that public enterprises operated profitably as envisioned by the President. This he said will help them wean off the funding, and hoped the Authority would be able to continue with its vision which it had captioned as “BRAISE,” focusing its attention beyond Aids.
Mr Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa, the Chief Executive Officer of the Volta River Authority, on the strategies used to achieve the monumental successes, explained that attention was given to the building, nurture, and development of its human capital, where the staff were among other things, motivated to work hard towards the achievement of their set targets.
Again, the Authority had harnessed the use of technology by digitizing its operations to ensure efficiency and accelerated rate in both internal and business processes.
Mr Antwi-Darkwa explained that through its strategy, the VRA had improved its operational and project implementation efficiencies, by ensuring development in a sustainable manner, thereby, sustaining its position as the market leader.
He said among VRA’s sustainability plan for the ensuing years included, inculcating private sector mindset in public service delivery by putting a price tag or value on everything it does to increase revenue, improve operational efficiency through prevention of avoidable plant outages, and increasing cash flows through innovative billing and debt collection.
Other plans included increasing its renewable footprints to ensure a green economy, improving staff competencies and effectiveness, enhance strategic alliances and relationships, and improve business processes leveraging on Information Technology to digitize all its operations.
He called for the support of all stakeholders to achieve the President’s agenda of a “Ghana beyond Aid,” and further meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.