The General Secretary of the Public Utility Workers Union, (PUWU) is predicting doom for government’s industrialization agenda should it go ahead with the planned privatization of the State power distributor, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
According to Michael Adumatta Nyantakyi, ceding the operations of ECG to a private entity on a 25-year concession under the Compact II of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), would among other things have dire implications on the government’s ‘one-district-one-factory’ industrialization policy since the private entity would be focused on maximizing profit as compared to the social impact of the utility provider.
To this end, Mr. Nyantakyi wants the new government to critically review the current concession arrangement in line with the strategic importance of ECG to the country’s development agenda.
“We strongly believe that the current president’s vision of one-district-one factory will seriously be affected if ECG is given out on concession on this kind of arrangement that have been put in place,” he told Starr News on the sidelines of a meeting with ECG National Senior Staff Union in Ho over the weekend.
He continued: “ECG should not always be looked at only from the economic perspective because it is both economic and social and there are so many aspects of the company’s activities which are more or less social interventions and government cannot run away from its social responsibilities.
“There is no way a private sector operator would provide those social interventions which are critical for our national development. A private entity which knows that if it sends electricity to rural areas and cannot recover cost will definitely not push this kind of agenda and these are the social aspect we’re talking about that government need to seriously consider.”
The private sector participation in the management of ECG under the $498.2 million MCA compact II programme is to improve the country’s power sector, which has been bedeviled with managerial and operational inefficiencies.
This notwithstanding, the PUWU General Secretary wants government to explore other options for private participation such as listing ECG on the stock exchange instead of the current concession arrangement.
“We should use the 5 year period of the MCC compact to prepare ECG and list it on the Stock Exchange, which government itself, recently said is going to list VRA [Volta River Authority] and Gridco. We have seen this option working for other state owned companies like GCB and GOIL, which is currently the market leader among the Oil Marketing Companies.,” Mr. Nyantakyi posited.