A number of stakeholders have pledged their willingness to take all necessary steps to halt the sale of thermal plants stakes and assets of the Volta River Authority.

The Institute of Energy Security is the latest to oppose the move, accusing government of attempting to bequeath the thermal plants to its cronies.

Government’s announcement of the sale of the thermal plants comes months after the president told Parliament that VRA and GRIDCO will be listed on the Stock Exchange.

Richmond Rockson, a principal research analyst at the IES said government’s justification that the VRA lacks the capacity to operate the thermal plants efficiently is untenable.

“Last year the previous administration attempted to cede T3 and some assets to Ameri and we resisted…so any attempt to sell any asset of VRA we are going to resist it just like we did last year.”

Mr. Rockson also accused the deputy energy minister Amin Antah of shifting his position after he opposed the sale of assets of VRA last year under the previous NDC administration.

Before, the Minority in Parliament, has warned that it will vehemently resist attempts to sell some thermal plants of the Volta River Authority (VRA).

The Minority’s Spokesperson on Energy, Adams Mutawakilu, speaking on the development stressed that, selling the VRA thermal plants should not be an option for government.

“The sale of VRA thermal plants shouldn’t be considered. It shouldn’t be an option. If that is their option, they should rethink because there will be resistance from well-meaning Ghanaians, from the NDC in respect to the sale of the thermal plants.”

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“We will do everything including demonstrations. We will undertake stakeholder consultations to get stakeholders on board… whatever we will do to ensure that it becomes very difficult to sell off government assets, we will do it” he stated.

The government has already advertised the sale of at least a majority stake in specified thermal plants owned by the VRA, and it has argued that, the VRA was not doing a good enough job with the management of the thermal plants, and should focus on just hydro power generation.

But the Minority has long maintained that, this move will compromise Ghana’s power security and the comfort of consumers.

“If you take the total energy generation, the government has control of 65 percent of the total power generation; 1,254 megawatts for thermal, and 1,580 megawatts for hydro,” Mr. Mutawakilu noted.

The Independent Power Producers are responsible for 1,505 megawatts, thus “the moment we sell off this plant, government will control only 36 percent and 64 percent will be controlled by the private sector. You know they are profit oriented, so apart from power security, it is going to lead to high tariffs,” the MP said.

This would be a slap in the face of the government’s promise to reduce electricity tariffs for Ghanaians, Mr. Mutawakilu added.

“With the steps they are taking, if you want to actually reduce tariffs, you don’t handover power generation to the private sector, and that is why we are against it. The ordinary consumer will suffer… there is no way we can sell our assets and the private sector takes control then we come out and say we want to reduce electricity tariffs.”

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The MP for Damango, rather advised the government to consider private sector participation instead of an outright sale of Volta River Authority (VRA) thermal plants.

He described private sector participation “as the most efficient way to go” in the handling of the thermal plants.

The government, however, is set on the sale of the plants, as indicated by an advertisement the sale of at least a majority stake in specified thermal plants owned by the VRA.

The government had decided that the VRA was not doing a good enough job with the management of the thermal plants, but the recent move to sell that has upset some workers of the VRA.

Mr. Mutawakilu also insisted that, selling off state assets to solve problems is not always the best action to take.

He recounted the near sale of the now-GCB Bank in 2007/08 because it was in distress, but “NDC came into power and we thought we should not just sell it. Let’s let private sector participate.”

“… And today, we are using GCB Bank to salvage UT and Capital Bank. That tells you that it’s not just selling that is the most important solution. Letting the private sector participate, and therefore Ghanaians participate; that is local content.”

He also explained that opting for private sector participation would mean government will retain some shares in the company, and it wouldn’t be left entirely in the hands of the public sector.

The MP argued further that, the private sector participation would bring some discipline and keep the government on its toes.

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“Once the private sector participates and even has 49 percent shares and the government has 51 percent shares, it brings discipline. Ministers and other government appointees cannot abuse their powers.”

Thus, the sale of VRA thermal plants shouldn’t be an option, Mr. Mutawakilu stressed.

“If that is their option, they should rethink because there will be resistance from well-meaning Ghanaians, from the NDC in respect to the sale of the thermal plants,” he warned.

-Adnan Adams Mohammed