Dismissing Energy Minister right decision – VRA union leader
President Akufo-Addo’s dismissal of Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko late Monday evening over the controversial renegotiated Ameri power deal, has been hailed as an inevitable decision.
Theophilus Tetteh Ahia, Vice Chairman of the Volta River Authority (VRA) Senior Staff Association, says the decision does not surprise them given that the Energy Minister failed to engage key stakeholders including the VRA in renegotiating the deal. He also spurned all good counsel to renegotiate for a value for money deal.
“In renegotiating this deal, several advises were given to him, committees were formed, all the committees pointed to the fact that if you are not bringing the cost down, it doesn’t worth renegotiating this deal but he refuses(sic) and went ahead to submit to parliament. Most people who were involved in this business were not consulted, VRA senior staff, there are other stakeholders in this business, Ministry of Finance, Attorney General…VRA specifically was not consulted fully, so that is the end result.”
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According to Theophilus Tetteh Ahia who spoke on live television with Citi TV, the VRA has been in the energy business for nearly 60 years and has the capacity and expertise to counsel on the financial and technical implications of any deal, local or foreign.
“We would give you a good advice that is good for this country”, he said, explaining that the Ameri power deal, initially causing GHȻ510 million, would best be renegotiated to bring the cost down, beyond the option of doing nothing at all about it.
“So the advice is that look, it’s better we allow the two-and-half years to run through and then we run the capacity charges to zero, so basically the tariff which is about 14.5 will drop to about 10.7and will be a great relief to Ghanaians. But when you try to renegotiate it to a longer term at low interest, you will eventually end up paying close to GHȻ470 million free to somebody.”
Theophilus Tetteh Ahia said the Energy Minister misses the point in renegotiating for a longer spread and a lower rate. “He does not have a point. We’ve done two-and-half years already so that one, you have to pay. We are left with two-and-half years. For example you are carrying a load of 14.5kg, and you are left with two-and-half kilometers to finish, and then somebody comes that “no, I’ll give you 11.5 so that you carry it for the next 15 kilometers, which one would you go for?”
He maintained that the renegotiated deal has never been a good deal because all policy think tanks in the country pointed out that the deal was bloated for about $150 million, and therefore any business case review should bring the cost down.