AMERI deal: VRA disputes $400m benefit claim
The Volta River Authority (VRA) has disputed claims by the Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko, that the newly revised AMERI deal will save Ghana some $400 million.
According to the Authority, the deal in its current form, if approved by Parliament will only result in a loss for the country.
The Union Chairman, Kaba Adatuu in an interview described figures given by the Energy Minister, as “misleading and erroneous.”
He added that “Ghana rather stands to lose $472 million and we are going to challenge him that he does not know his figures. We are there and we are going to tell him the right figures.”
Conversations about the Ameri deal seem far from over. The revised deal brought to Parliament for approval has received as much a backlash as the original deal signed by the Mahama led government in 2015 during a major power paralysis in the country.
The $510million power plant for five years was criticized by the then opposition New Patriotic Party together with allied policy think tanks including ACEP and IMANI.
The party promised to review the deal if it won power in the 2016 elections and when it did, a 17-member committee was constituted to investigate the details of the AMERI deal and provide recommendations.
But the re-negotiated deal by the government has left many displeased. Although the Energy Minster says the deal will save Ghana $400 million, experts have described the new deal as bogus.
The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), IMANI Africa, the Institute for Energy Security (IES) and the Minority in Parliament have all called on the government not to go ahead with the proposed deal.
The deal has since been put on hold. But VRA is unhappy. They believe the deal holds no benefits for Ghana.
The Union Chairman said after 15 years – as the contract stipulates – the machines would have worn out and cannot be put to any meaningful use.
Mr Adatuu said the government lied and that “After 15 years, they [machines] will be more or less crap.”
According to him, the VRA is already indebted to Ghana Gas as a result of the services it provides to Ameri and so extending the deal to 15 years will just worsen the burden on the Authority.
“Apart for being the off-taker, VRA is solely responsible for providing any other item that Ameri needs to generate power including the buying of gas and as at the end of December 2017, VRA owes Ghana Gas $750 million,” he said.
The VRA workers, he noted will not support the new deal because the country has surplus generation capacity and does not require any long-term take or pay arrangement.