Four political parties have welcomed the government’s decision to terminate the concession agreement with the Power Distribution Service (PDS).
Although the parties described the government’s action as “the right move”, they expressed different sentiments regarding what next the government ought to do.
The parties are the Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG), the National Democratic Party (NDP), the People’s National Convention (PNC) and the CPP.
While the LPG asked the government to hasten slowly in its decision to bring in the next partner, the NDP disagreed, saying that the government had every right to go ahead and bring a new partner.
The PNC, on the other hand, called for the prosecution of all state officials who played a role in the entire PDS deal, indicating that if “they are spared, others will emulate their bad examples”.
For the CPP, the government must not delay its decision but proceed to cancel the contract following the revelation of irregularities on the part of the PDS officials.
The government last week expressed its intention to terminate the concession agreement it signed with the PDS for the management , operation and investment in the electricity distribution business of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
According to the government, the decision was reached after extensive internal consultations within government circles and with stakeholders, and after careful legal reviews of issues surrounding the validity of demand guarantees and their implications on the concession agreement.
The government has indicated that it will select a new partner for the power concession agreement through a restrictive tendering process.
Following the announcement, some energy sector think tanks and political actors have expressed their concerns.
Among them is the National Democratic Congress (NDC),which at a press conference on Monday, called for the dismissal of the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, and the Minister of Energy, Mr Amewu, as well as the prosecution of all officials found culpable in the PDS concession agreement.
Explaining why the government must hasten slowly, the founder and leader of LPG, Mr Kofi Akpaloo, said before the state “ reaches the decision it must take time to find out about power management under the PDS as compared to the ECG to shape its decision making.”
He said the government must not bow to external pressure from the MCC to maintain PDS “because of the $190 million promised the country through the contract”.
Mr Akpaloo said the government must be bold to take the right decision even if it would conflict with the expectations of the MCC, saying “the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda starts from here.”
On the next partner, he said “we do not need any external partners to manage our power for us because the problem with ECG had nothing to do with competence but debt owed them by the state and other inefficiencies.”
The acting Chairman of the NDP, Mr Mohammed Frimpong, said the party was in support of any move by the government to cancel the PDS deal, indicating that it proved that the state was vigilant in its investigation.
Mr Frimpong said once errors or anomalies had been discovered in the PDS deal, the government had every reason to do the needful because “the officials represent the people of Ghana”.
He said the party would not agree to the call for the government to hasten in its next decision but rather asked that the next phase must be conducted quickly to bring in the new partner through the right and approved means.
“NDP will support any decision that will benefit Ghana and the entire citizenry,” Mr Frimpong added.
PNC on officials
In the case of the PNC, the Chairman of the party, Mr Bernard Mornah, said cancelling the contract ought not to be the only thing the government must do but rather officials who failed to do the due diligence must be prosecuted.
Describing the PDS deal as “the most stinking deal under this government” he said it had dented the image of Ghana, arguing that “this should not have even happened in the first place”
Mr Mornah said the only way the government could redeem itself from the bad name it had gotten through the PDS deal was for “the President to prosecute officials to serve as a warning to others.”
The CPP, for its part, has asked the government to cancel the concession agreement immediately.
In a statement signed by acting General Secretary, Mr James Kwabena Bomfeh Jnr., the CPP noted that: “It is abundantly clear from the letter under the hand of the honourable Finance Minister that while the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-led government had mustered some courage to ‘cancel’ the PDS deal, they are timid to renegotiate the whole MCA compact on the energy sector to insist on ECG operating as a state asset without the private sector.
The CPP is of the view that the government “should open the ECG Board to democratic public management if the current board structure is failing to meet the demands of transparency”.
For the party, Ghana is capable of managing the energy sector from generation to distribution.