The Minister of Energy, John Peter Amewu, says government has paid all its debt owed the Electricity Company of Ghana, ECG, up to December 2019.
According to the Minister, government paid GHS 2 billion annually to cover its bills. Speaking at a press briefing by the Information Ministry,on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, Mr. Peter Amewu said debts that had existed up until December 2019 have been fully paid.
This, he says, has given government a credit balance of GHS 500 million to cover bills up to April this year.
Following the negative impact of the novel Coronavirus on businesses and individuals, government earlier this year, announced that it is expected to cumulatively spend GHS1 billion to absorb the electricity bills of Ghanaians for April, May and June.
This is part of measures to offer some relief to consumers.
The package will cover over 86 percent of individual consumers and industries on the national grid as well as the electricity bills of consumers of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), the Volta River Authority (VRA) and the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo).
Earlier this year, Government attributed the increased debt in the energy sector to some policy decisions approved by the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.
According to them, in January 2017 when the NDC handed over power, the Bulk Oil Storage and Transport Company Limited (BOST) owed $624 million to suppliers, Bulk Oil Distribution Companies (BDCs) and related parties in respect of crude oil imports for processing at TOR, as well as refined products which got lost from BOST tanks.
He explained that the NPP government has settled $567 million, saying “as at February 2020, the outstanding amount to settle to clear the books now stands at $57 million.”
Meanwhile, the Africa Centre for Energy Policy, (ACEP), has warned that government’s introduction of a complete waiver will, “endanger the sustainability of the power sector now and after the COVID-19 pandemic.”
According to them, though the gesture by government is benign, not everybody needs the subvention.