Government has attributed the increased debt in the energy sector to some policy decisions approved by the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.
According to the government, although their innovative idea has helped to improve the debt situation, the level of debt left by the NDC government leaves the government with a lot more work to do.
Mohammed Amin Adam, the Deputy Energy Minister while addressing a press conference on Friday, 14th February 2019 said the debt in the sector was mainly because the erstwhile government allowed the Volta River Authority (VRA) to take gas from Ghana Gas consistently on credit.
“The [Energy Sector] debt has increased as a result of inter-utility debt which again was caused by the NDC. VRA according to them [NDC] owes Ghana Gas about $700million. This means that they take gas and produce power but they don’t pay. The gas price has been so high, above the current levels that we have and how do you expect VRA to pay for something they don’t take taxes from consumers to do? That is how the debts have accumulated,” he said.
Mohammed Amin Adam added that the government has come up with a plan to ensure that the debt is cleared.
“The government has come out from a very ambitious program after we had already made some interventions with the energy bonds. You may recall that we took GH¢ 6.4 billion to liquidate some of the [energy bond] debts,” he added.
The opposition NDC at their National Policy dialogue earlier this week accused the government of mismanaging the energy sector and leading it into a GHS15 billion debt.
The Deputy Minister who did not confirm or deny the amount quoted by the Minority said it was working to clear the debts.
“The NDC introduced the energy sector levies, but as soon as they collected it, they were using it to pay the debts… But we created the ESLA PLC and securitized the energy sector levies through which we are able to take more money from the market to defray the debt while we are serving the interest… That is the difference between us and them [NDC],” he added.