Thursday, 14 May 2015

The Ghanaian Media Ought To Make Ghanaians Understand Why Private Investors Are Needed In The Power Sector - If Power Outages Are To Become A Thing Of The Past

In the situation we are currently facing, it is vital that those in government who talk about the need for Ghanaians to pay realistic tariffs for electricity, always make the point that since it is private investors in the power sector  that will provide the power Ghana needs in the medium to long term, a tariff regime that is attractive to private investors, is definitely necessary.

To talk about realistic electricity tariffs without mentioning its pull-factor for private investors in the power sector is suicidal - in an overtaxed nation whose long-suffering people have clearly had enough of having to make endless sacrifices that yield no long-term benefits.

The question then is: how much should Ghanaians expect to pay for electricity if tariffs that will make Ghana attractive for private power producers are set?

Perhaps the Energy Commission should develop charts showing Ghanaians how much different types of randomly selected properties are paying today for electricity, and how much those same properties will have to pay (all things being equal) if tariffs that are attractive to private sector power generating companies,  are set.

 A conversion chart to enable all electricity consumers do same would be helpful and appreciated nationwide.

Such a move by the Energy Commission would help all stakeholders adjust psychologically to a future of realistic tariffs that will enable Ghanaians to enjoy reliable round-the-clock electricity supply.

The more responsible sections of the media in Ghana, ought to see educating Ghanaians about the need for setting realistic tariffs that will attract private-sector power-generating companies to Ghana, as an important national-interest-issue that they must take up - as their contribution to the nation-building effort.

The plain truth, is that in the Ghana of today, no government can provide the public-sector power-generating companies with the money they need to build and operate more thermal power generating plants.

That is why we must make Ghana an attractive place for independent power producers to invest in. The Ghanaian-Chinese joint-venture,  Sunon-Asogli Power  Company (Ghana) Limited, should be the partnership model for all such private power investors.

Only a tariff regime that will enable independent power producers to make reasonable  profits will bring them to our shores in numbers sufficient to enable Ghanaians enjoy round-the-clock  electricity supply - and for their nation to become a net exporter of electricity to the rest of west Africa.

That is a reality we cannot and must not run away from - if we want the enterprise Ghana to prosper.

It is for that reason that patriotic and discerning Ghanaians must not allow the power crisis to be turned into a political football by irresponsible politicians. Civil society initiatives like the #DumsorMustStop campaign ought to be supported to ensure that that does not happen.

The more responsible sections of the media in Ghana have a moral obligation to make Ghanaians understand the painful reality that tariffs must go up in order to attract more private power producers - and  that that is the only way power outages in Ghana will become a thing of the past in the medium to long term.

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