Govt clears GH¢2.63 bln electricity debt left by the NDC govt—Peter Amewu
The Minister of Energy, John Peter Amewu says the government has cleared the GH¢2.63 billion legacy debts owed the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) by the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
“As of December 2016, when the National Democratic Congress (NDC) left office, the bill owed ECG by the government at that time was GH¢2.63 billion,” he said
Addressing a press briefing on Tuesday in Accra, Mr Amewu noted that on assumption of office, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) ensured that it was current on all the bills incurred during its tenure, from 2017 to date.
He said as at December last year, the government had paid the full amount of electricity bills and currently had a credit balance of GH¢500 million with the power distributor.
On the average, President Akufo-Addo, Mr Amewu stated had paid GH¢2 billion annually to cover its bills with the ECG.
In order to remain current on bills expected to be paid by the government since assuming office, he indicated that an annual payment of GH¢2 billion was made to the ECG from 2017.
With an average electricity bill payment of GH¢100 million per month, the Minister explained that the GH¢500 million credit balance would cover government’s electricity bill from January to April this year.
Additionally, he said unreconciled additional payment of GH¢4.14 billion by government to fuel suppliers of power producers, which were yet to be credited to government would position the country toward addressing financial challenges crippling the sector.
In this regard, the Energy Sector Reform Programme (ESRP) designed to improve the sector, Mr Amewu noted, has been approved by cabinet to ensure a reliable and effective electricity company in the country.
President Nana Akufo-Addo, in his sixth address to the nation, announced government’s decision to absorb the electricity bills of consumers as part of measures to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus disease on the citizenry.
He said as part of the measures, government would fully absorb the electricity bills for people who consumed zero to 50 kw/h of electricity for the periods of April, May and June.
He further stated that, for residential and commercial users, government would absorb 50 per cent of the electricity bills using March 2020 as benchmark.
The decision, the government maintained, was to support industry, enterprises and the service sector, as well as provide some relief to households for lost income.
BY JOYCELINE NATALLY CUDJOE