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Government releases GH¢207.5 million to clear MDAs' debt to ECG

BY: Samuel K. Obour

Minister for Energy, Mr Emmanuel Kofi BuahThe government has released GH¢207.5 million to clear arrears in tariffs owed by the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), the Minister of Energy, Mr Emmanuel Kofi Buah, has said.

Mr Buah was highlighting progress made by the sector at the power sector roundtable between Ghana and a delegation from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) in Accra yesterday.

He said the ECG reduced aggregate losses from 43 per cent in 2010 to 37 per cent as of the end of June 2013.

The minister said the ECG had also installed prepaid meters in 2,100 out of 2,500 MDAs.

Additionally, he said, the instruction by the government  to MDAs to pay their own utility bills was also on course.

He said the government would ensure that the arrears did not accumulate and utility bills were kept by the timely reconciliation of bills through the clearing-house mechanism or other alternative means.

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According to Mr Buah, the government and the MCC had agreed to consider a company-wide approach for the potential ECG distribution project, instead of restricting it to a specific region.

He said the MCC would engage the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to conduct a study on private sector partnership (PSP) options which should begin by the end of September, 2013.

On gas, he said an allocation and pricing policy had been officially approved by Cabinet, while the procurement process for the gas sector master plan had been initiated, adding that the government would approve and promulgate the master plan by December, 2013.

Speaking on progress made on the tariff setting process, Mr Buah said all the utility companies had filed tariff applications and the PURC was currently engaged in stakeholder consultations.

He said the PURC must fully implement the automatic tariff adjustment mechanism, such that every quarter tariff was updated based on changes in inflation, fuel cost, exchange rates, among other factors.

The acting Vice-President of the MCC in charge of Compact Operations, Mr Jonathan Bloom, expressed the compact’s commitment to the partnership between the two countries.

He said the compact would support the Mahama administration to achieve its dream of getting 5,000 megawatts by 2015.

By Timothy Gobah/Daily Graphic/Ghana