Energy Ministry's strides under Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh
It is one thing being named as a government appointee and another thing making an impact through hard work and leaving an indelible mark on the minds of the populace.
There are lots of people who have served in various capacities under various governments who have been forgotten totally because of how poor they performed while in office.
History cannot be unkind to Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Ghana’s Energy Minister, because of the impact he has made as the man in charge of the country’s crucial energy sector, as he has been able to confront most of the teething problems of the sector.
In 2021, when Dr. Prempeh was named by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to be in charge of the energy ministry, he was fully aware of the sector’s difficult past and had to confront it with alacrity.
The fearsome face of the energy sector made him to devise various strategies with team members of the various agencies under the ministry and set out to work and the results are what Ghanaians are enjoying today.
Dr. Prempeh, who is the Member of Parliament for Manhyia South, in the Ashanti Region, chalked incredible feat in his first year (2021) as the commander-in-charge of the sector and added more feathers in his cup by working extremely hard to achieve the best of results in 2022.
In 2022, the power sector witnessed massive projects that fed into the minister’s agenda of keeping the lights on in every corner of the country.
The power situation from Kumasi in the Ashanti Region to Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region has become best with the commissioning of 330 Kilovolt (KV) transmission line project at Anwomaso. Kumasi and the northern parts of the country now have stable power.
In June 2022, the Volta-Achimota-Mallam lines were improved and upgraded with the commissioning of 161Kv line that has helped to stabilize the power situation in the southern sector of the country.
In that same month in 2022, the Kasoa substation, which is the second largest Bulk Supply Point (BSP) with a productive capacity of 435 Measuring Apparent Power (MVA) was commissioned, resulting in significant power improvement in the reliability of power supply to Kasoa and its environs in the Central Region.
The Ellen Moran Primary Substation located at Kanda in Accra with productive capacity of 78MVA and the Legon Primary Substation with productive capacity of 52MVA, located at the University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC), were completed and commissioned in 2022.
With the development and promotion of solar power very dear to the heart of the minister, the Kaleo/Lawra Solar Project, with productive capacity of 19 Mega Watts (MW), was completed and commissioned in August 2022 to add to government’s policy to increase the share of renewables in the national generation mix.
The power sector also witnessed the execution of Power Purchasing Agreements (PPAs) with some existing Volta River Authority (VRA) customers, including Newmont Ghana Limited.
The Energy Transition Framework was given an impetus in 2022, as it was being developed to provide the path to achieving net zero emission by 2070, while ensuring economic growth and utilization of Ghana’s natural resources. The Framework was launched by President Akufo-Addo at the Climate Change Conference-COP27 in Egypt.
With Dr. Prempeh’s aggressive and well-tailored programmes, Ghana’s electricity access has increased from 87.03% in 2021 to 88.54% as at the end of 2022.
Improved Cook Stoves Program saw the distribution of some 92, 552 units of Improved Charcoal Cook Stoves in 2022. The program has led to efficient energy utilization and reduced dependence on wood fuels.
Downstream petroleum activities were seriously attended to by Dr. Prempeh and his team in 2022 with the minister leading the charge for Cabinet to lift the ban on the construction of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) refilling plants.
The National LPG Promotion Programme (NLPGPP) was properly handled leading to US$17 million in funding support from the World Bank for the implementation of Phase 1 of the NLPGPP.
In addition to that initial 40,000 pieces of cook stoves and related accessories for distribution under the National LPG Promotion Programme (NLPGPP) were procured.
Stakeholder engagements with the Association of LPG Marketing Companies (LPGMCs), Ghana Alliance for Clean Cooking (GHACCO), Ministries of Health, Education, Transport, among others were part of the energy ministry’s preoccupation in 2022.
Dr. Prempeh was focused on the NLPGPP and ensured that an Operation Manual developed for the full implementation of the NLPGPP was developed as well as having the national launch of the programme.
To make the NLPGPP successful, there were reconnaissance activities in 19 Metropolitans, Municipals, and Districts (MMDAs) across Ashanti, Eastern, Western and Northern regions conducted, while 6,000 single burner LPG Cook Stoves and related accessories distributed at Obuasi, Kodie and Fomena.
LPG Behavioural Change and Public Awareness Strategy developed and Nationwide LPG Sensitization Campaign was launched in 2022 by the energy ministry with Steering Committee to provide direction and supervision for the implementation of programmes under the LPG4D instituted with Kintampo Health Research Centre as an Independent Verification Agency for the NLPGPP.
Dr. Prempeh saw the exclusivity agreement between Petroleum Hub Development Corporation (PHDC) and Touchstone Capital Partners (TCP)/UIC Energy Ghana Limited (UIC) for the implementation of Phase 1 of the Petroleum Hub project facilitation in 2022 with the overall importance of the hub as his interest.
There was improved sustainability of the Price Stabilization and Recovery Account with total annual under-recovery payments of GHS153,753,694.94 and GHS240,655,682.57 from the Ministry of Finance for supplied RFO and premix fuel respectively facilitated.
A subsidy capping level for Residual Fuel Oil was introduced and the subsidy was gradually reduced to zero whiles financing the automation of premix fuel distribution to mitigate malfeasances facilitated.
The level of subsidy on premix fuel was also capped at 50% to ensure accumulated under-recoveries due to suppliers of products can be paid to avert the current supply disruption was also on the agenda of Dr. Prempeh in 2022.
Upstream Petroleum activities were well coordinated under the supervision of Dr. Prempeh, as Eni was granted conditional approval to jointly appraise the Akoma-1X and the Eban-1X discoveries in the Cape Three Points Block 4 contract area.
An additional discovery (Aprokuma-1X) has been made in the same contract area and merits appraisal and if these discoveries are proven to be commercial, the country’s reserves will be increased leading to increased oil and gas production and thus revenues. Also, jointly appraising and eventually developing the Akoma and Eban discoveries will reduce petroleum costs as the same infrastructure will be used to produce the two discoveries.
In 2022, there was the establishment of the Institution of Welding was established in the country to train indigenes in welding and fabrication and equip them with international certification for the global oil and gas industry. This enhances indigenes’ chances of employment in the global oil and gas industry.
There is no doubt that the Ministry of Energy in 2022 made giant strides under the competent leadership of Dr, Prempeh, as all sectors were fully attended to.