Sunday, 7 August 2016

The Mahama Administration Must Stop Asset-Stripping The VRA


Apparently, recently, the deputy power minister, the Honourable John Jinapor, appealed to Ghanaians with power industry expertise, to put their knowledge at the disposal of the government. The question is: Will their hard-of-hearing regime listen to such advice when it is offered?

Although one is not an energy expert, one's humble advice to the deputy power minister, is that he would do well to ask his counterpart in the Bahamas, to share the win-win proposal from the U.S. energy company, PowerSecure International, to manage the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC), with the government of Ghana.

That win-win proposal enabled the bid submitted by PowerSecure International to win an international tender to manage the BEC for five years. Unlike the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), the BEC is both a power generator and distributor.

A key deliverable that PowerSecure International is tasked with producing, as an outcome, is to ensure that within the five-year timeframe its agreement with the Bahamian government to manage the BEC, will last for, the high electricity tariff that Bahamians currently have to pay for electricity, will be reduced considerably.

PowerSecure International's win-win agreement with the Bahamian government will be an eye-opener for the Hon. John Jinapor and his ministerial colleagues in their hard-of-hearing regime - and help the honest ones in that regime to better protect the nation's vital interests in the power sector.

What the Hon. John Jinapor & Co ought to understand clearly, is that Ghana's power-sector needs ethical investors - not fraudsters on the lookout for nations with naive leaders to rip-off.

The question is: Has the time not now come for our country to make it a national goal to reduce our reliance on fossil fuel-fired thermal power plants - and do everything possible to find partners to build the world's biggest offshore wind farm deploying giant wind turbines to produce 10,000MW?

Ditto create the conditions that will make Ghana an attractive destination for investors to partner locally-based Ghanaian entrepreneurs to invest in household, business, community and utility-scale solar power (with storage) initiaves  across the country to give more people off-grid energy independence.

Could the VRA not lead such projects with its experienced world-class power-sector professionals?

What sense does it therefore make to deliberately kill off the state-owned power producer by dismembering it - when its fortunes could be revived by making it a pan-African renewable energy giant: for the benefit of our homeland Ghana, I ask?

Instead of allowing Mother Ghana to be milked dry by signing one-sided agreements detrimental to Ghana's interests, with ruthless and parasitical companies like the so-called Africa & Middle East Resources Investment (AMERI), the Mahama administration ought to rather deal with reputable and solid companies like PowerSecure International.

Anyone who thinks creatively ought to be able to envision how a partnership with PowerSecure could easily turn the VRA into a pan-African renewable energy giant - in a continent desperate for inexpensive electricity.

PowerSecure is a reputable and experienced power company that is underpinned by an ethical ethos - and is meticulously fair in all its dealings with emerging nations such as ours.

On the other hand, with its known Norwegian and Pakistani playboy-fraudster-antecedents, in the person of Umar Farooq Zahoor, AMERI is clearly not a company Ghana really ought to be doing any transactions with at all.

So why do dubious swap deals that in effect mean asset-stripping the VRA to pay off debts owed it and other independent power producers (IPP) - debts that only arose because the genuises who lead our country signed daft power-sector agreements detrimental to Ghana (probably in return for secret kickbacks)?

Instead of destroying the VRA to create something-for-nothing wealth for IPPs, which have come to Ghana on their own volition in search of profits - let us not forget - the John Jinapors ought to put their thinking-caps on for once.

Instead of taking actions that effectively mean  destroying the VRA, why do they not  rather insist that those IPPs accept long-term government papers, for the mountain of piled up debt owed them, which has accumulated only because our leaders signed one-sided agreements  detrimental to Ghana with those IPPs, instead of win-win ones?

Are there not  many private entities in Ghana's financial services sector that will happily discount long-term government paper for cash, any day, I ask? Haaba.

The question is: What does the Hon. John Jinapor have to say about accusations by staff of the Volta River Authority (VRA) that the current government is in effect asset-stripping the VRA - for the benefit of AMERI? It is a very serious allegation.

The Mahama administration must not think that Ghanaians are fools. We are not. Full stop.

Members of the current government must not think for one moment that those in their ranks who cause financial loss to Ghana will escape punishment in future. They will not. Never.

They must all remember that if elected President in this December's elections, Paa Kwesi Nduom will probe all the regimes that have governed our country, since the 4th Republic came into being. God bless Nduom's quest for the presidency, for that reason.

The vast majority of ordinary people in Ghana are fed up to the back teeth with well-connected criminals brutally gang-raping Mother Ghana - and resent the fact that criminals of that ilk always get away with such heinous crimes.

Whiles we wait for Nduom to become President, for the time being, one's humble advice to those patriotic VRA staff members, who are raising the alarm about the disgraceful conduct of those who are giving away yet more of our nation's assets, to foreign carpetbaggers - in order to line their own pockets - is that they must seek the help of the Minority Leader in Ghana's Parliament.

Why do they not ask the Hon. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu to petition the Emir of Dubai, His Highness Sheik Mohammed bin Rasdhid Al Maktoum, on their behalf, and bring the issues they are raising regarding the apparent transfer of some of the VRA's assets to the Dubai domiciled AMERI, to his attention?

Sheik  Mohammed Al Maktoum is a very principled and fair-minded leader who does not tolerate corrupt practices by his blood-relatives.

If anyone in this world could singlehandedly halt what the VRA's staff are convinced is a particularly egregious example of a very bad and unfair deal for Mother Ghana, that person is HH Sheik Mohammed Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai's Emir and vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates.

Petitioning him will enable the VRA's protesting workers to deal effectively with the crooks in the Mahama administration who are behind this latest  rip-off of Mother Ghana that the asset-stripping of the VRA for the benefit of AMERI represents.

One's humble advice to the administration of President Mahama is that given the present mood of the country, under no circumstances must they engage in asset-stripping the VRA. There will be consequences some day if they do.
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