By Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA
Accra, Sept. 7, GNA — The Minister of Energy, Mr John Peter Amewu, on Friday identified power distribution losses as a major challenge facing the energy sector.
It is estimated that the nation is losing about eight million dollars weekly, therefore to curb the situation, he said various interventions would be put in place to resolve it.
Mr Amewu identified some of the interventions as replacing obsolete equipment like transformers, transmission lines, distribution stations and improving the general distribution systems.
He believed the Ghana Power Compact II, which the United States Government had committed US$498.2 million to Ghana under the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) would significantly improve the efficiency of the power sector and enhance economic growth.
Mr Amewu told journalists at the sidelines of the second anniversary of the Ghana Power Compact II Entry-Into-Force and launch of Compact II Documentary in Accra.
He said efforts was underway to streamline the licensing regime of the petroleum sector, noting that, oil wells would not be given out easily and that competitive bidding process would be instituted to deal with it.
He added that plans were far advanced for the first licensing round starting from December this year to January next year, which would engage upstream oil companies in competitive procurement processes.
Commenting on the deregulatory policy of the energy sector, Mr Amewu said the power sector had been expanded with different firms handling different task in the power distribution chain, including power transmission, generation, distribution and metering.
He said the hallmark of any successful government was collaboration and, therefore, assured that his Ministry would continue collaborating with other Ministries to achieve the desired results.
The Minister commended stakeholders in the power sector for the yeoman’s job in fulfilling the conditions and timelines of the Compact, which culminated in the disbursement of the remaining US$190 million tranche from the US$498.2 million grant.
Meanwhile, Mr Kenneth James Miller, the Resident Country Director of the MCC, in an interview, said there was a lot of work to be done by Ghana’s power stakeholders in the next three years to attain the Compact deliverables and called for continued co-operation.
He said the MCC would put premium on transparency and accountability in the utilisation of the funds to achieve the set targets.
He said the MCC would be investing about US$350 million in the Electricity of Ghana’s Financial Operational Turnaround Programme, which would go into infrastructure development such as new transformers, meters, bulk supply points and sub-station to improve electricity reliability and accessibility to businesses and homes.
The US Government has signed two power compacts with Ghana with a combined value of over one billion dollars over the past decade.
The first compact was worth US$547 million administered from 2007 to 2012, focused on agricultural transformation (agribusiness), while the second Power Compact totalled US$498.2 million, aimed at improving infrastructure in the power sector in Ghana running from 2016 to 2021.
The Compact II was signed in August 5, 2014, between the Ghana Government and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) of the United States.
It became operational on September 6, 2016, after Ghana had met all the requisite conditions prior to accessing the first tranche of funds under the US$498.2 million grant agreement.
The Compact sought to increase private sector investment and productivity, profitability of micro, small, medium and large scale businesses and improve power reliability and availability, as well as increase employment opportunities for Ghanaians and raise earning potential from self-employment and improved social outcomes.