Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Rescind Decision To Allow The Shenzen Energy Group To Build A Coal-Fired Power Plant In Ghana

There are times, when it is pretty hard not to come to the sad conclusion that the national interest is being sacrificed, by corrupt politicians and dishonest senior public officials, in pursuit of obtaining kickbacks for themselves.

That is almost always the case, when governments of the day, take certain decisions that no government, which truly has the welfare of its people at heart, and seeks the well-being of the nation it governs, at all material times, will ever consider taking.

The extremely foolish and  short-sighted decision, to allow China's Shenzan Energy Group to build a coal-fired power plant in the Central Region, is one such perniciuos example.

This blog confidently predicts - were the said power plant to be built - that over time, as sure as day follows night,  the vast majority of Ghanaians will eventually come to realise that it was most reprehensible, for the Mahama administration to allow the building of such  a power plant, in Ghana.

Alas, just as pertains in the communities surrounding South Africa's Eskom's coal-fired power plants, tens of thousands of individuals in the area of the Central Region, where the Shenzen Energy Group's proposed coal-fired power plant will be sited, will continually suffer and die from respiratory diseases - caused by regularly breathing in particulates and other health-damaging pollutants contained in its emissions. Pity.

Incidentally, the same callous disregard for the national interest, occurred, when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) regime of President Kufuor,  opted for the bid by the then AngloGold, for the now-defunct Ashanti Goldfields, over the far better deal that Randgold Resources was offering our homeland Ghana, at the time.

That egregious one-sided transaction, was a very bad deal for Mother Ghana - and some of us predicted that it would definitely end in tears. It has. And, some. And, how. We have been proved right. It turns out we were indeed prescient at the time. Pity.

Today, as a business, the fabled Obuasi mine of AngloGold Ashanti, is in shambles and complete disarray - whiles Randgold Resources' mines across Africa, are still making profits: bucking  a global gold mining industry-wide trend, because of its cost-cutting prowess, and innovative management.

At the time of the takeover battle for Ashanti Goldfields, some of us suggested that it was far better for the NPP government to accept the rival bid from Randgold Resources, which would have meant that the nation would be able to continue holding on to the government's all-important golden share in Ashanti Goldfields, and, crucially, also meant that the newly-merged and enlarged pan-African gold mining company, would be headquartered and domiciled in Ghana. We were ignored.

All those selfish and callous individuals in the Volta River Authority (VRA), who know perfectly well, that our technically-challenged politicians depend on  them, to make such crucial decisions for the nation, should bow their heads in shame. A coal-fired power plant in this day and age? Incredible.

At a time of global climate change, they have shown the world that today's crop of engineers and  technocrats at the VRA, are not in the same league as their predecessors - who were definitely world-class and worked for a VRA that was a  truly world-class organisation.

Alas, the VRA was dismembered by thoughtless bean-counters, who could not see beyond their noses, and knew the price of everything under the African sun, but hadn't the faintest idea what their real values actually were.

The question is: Why are those geniuses who now run the VRA not looking to the example of those farsighted Arab leaders, in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates, who, as a result of the advances made in solar energy and battery storage technologies, are now focusing on  renewables, such as utility-scale thermal solar power plants with molten salts storage, to help secure the long-term futures of their societies?

Hmm, Ghana - enti yeweiye paa enei? Asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa. How Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's brilliant first President, must be turning in his grave. Hmm, eyeasem o.

Ghana is not a banana republic that canny Chinese businesspeople  can lead up the proverbial garden path at will. Enough is enough. Haaba. With such mind-numbing idiocy, why won't the perception that this is an incompetent and corrupt regime, gain ground, across the nation: especially when such horrendous decisions are allowed to be foisted on government ministers by self-seeking senior public officials, I ask?

With their infernal insularity, and narrow-minded professional outlook, one doubts very much whether those geniuses at the VRA, are even aware that with the closure of South Australia's last coal-fired power plant, solar and wind have now emerged as base-load power generators, in that part of Australia. Well, they have, actually - surprising though that might be to those sodden geniuses.

Since it is him, not those insufferable geniuses at the VRA, whom the people of the Central Region will forever curse, and posterity will judge harshly, if that confounded coal-fired power plant is ever allowed to be built, President Mahama - who incidentally is co-chair, together with Norwegian Prime Minister, Ms. Erna Solberg,  of the 16 UN SDGs Advocates, as it happens - must personally step in, and ask the Minister for Power to demand that the VRA immediately rescinds its odd decision, to embark on this unwise and most counter-productive of emerging market energy projects: for the sake of the well-being of Mother Ghana and the health of ordinary Ghanaians.

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