Nana Damoah - Head of Communication at the Energy Ministry
Head of Communication at the Energy Ministry, Nana Damoah has indicated that the electricity reliefs announced by the government to cushion Ghanaians following the coronavirus pandemic will not affect the country’s energy sector debt.
This comes on the back of President Nana Akufo-Addo’s sixth national address to the nation on Thursday, April 9, 2020, that government will fully cover electricity bills of low-income consumers and a 50 per cent reduction in the cost for consumers in other categories in the country from April through to June 2020.
According to Energy Minister, John Peter Amewu, while speaking at a press briefing said the government will spend about GHS1 billion on the electricity relief package for all Ghanaians as announced by the President.
Stakeholders within the sector have claimed that the reliefs will likely impact the country’s already high energy sector debt.
But speaking on the matter in an interview, the spokesperson for the Energy Ministry insisted that the current arrangement will not affect the Energy Sector debt explaining that government has funds ready to pay electricity suppliers monthly.
“This will not in any way affect the current position of the energy sector in terms of debt because government, led by the President, made a decision to provide some relief to the people of Ghana in this era of COVID-19. What this means is that this cost or this debt we are about to incur has been planned for by government and government will provide those amounts of money from outside the normal operations of the electricity company of Ghana.”
“So government has said these amounts that have been brought before it are going to be paid on a monthly basis. It, therefore, does not affect the revenue of the ECG in any way. The Ministry of Finance has given the highest assurances that the money has been found and is available to be paid at the end of every month to ensure the continuous operation of all of these.”
It is believed that Ghana’s Energy sector debt currently stands at GHS15 billion.
Government to spend GHS1bn on Coronavirus electricity reliefs
The government will spend a little over GHS1 billion over the next three months on relief for electricity consumers amid the economic slowdown from the novel coronavirus pandemic.
About 87 per cent of the Ghanaian population on 4.8 million metres who have access to the national grid is in line to benefit from these reliefs, according to the Energy Minister, Peter Amewu.
The government is fully absorbing electricity bills for lifeline consumers; persons who consume 0 to 50 kilowatt-hours per month while other categories of consumers will enjoy a 50 per cent discount within the same period.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday morning, Mr Amewu gave a breakdown of the reliefs with the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) accounting for most of the beneficiaries.
According to him, “the customer population of 1 million of ECG is about 27.4 per cent of the ECG total customer population. This means that at a current level, the government is absorbing almost an amount of 8.5 million Ghana Cedis per month.”
“This means that at the current tariff level, Government is absolving almost an amount of GHS 8.5 million per month for [life line customers],” Mr Amewu noted.