Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Minister-designate for Energy, Republic of Ghana

The Institute for Energy Policies Research (INSTEPR), an energy think tank in the Republic of Ghana, has expressed worry over the seeming inaction in the country’s energy sector since the swearing in of President Nana Akufo-Addo for his second term in office on January 7, 2021.

According to INSTEPR, Ghana’s energy sector is now on an autopilot because of the absence of a substantive minister.

President Akufo-Addo has nominated Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Member of Parliament for South Manhyia Constituency, as Minister for Energy, pending parliamentary approval.

The ministerial nominee is expected to be vetted on Monday, February 15, 2021.

In a statement issued by INSTEPR and signed by its Executive Director, on Thursday, February 4, it noted that despite the numerous problems besetting the energy sector, there would not be a minister until the end of February.

“Ghana missed a deadline to take over the operation and maintenance of the Ameri Plant. This was because of delay in undertaking audit of the plant and an indebtedness to Ameri. There are union agitations at the Tema Oil Refinery since the beginning of the year. The refinery needs special attention by the government to determine its long-term viability. In recent weeks, most parts of the country have experienced low voltage and power outages. There are teething problems at Gridco and ECG which need immediate attention. We have just mentioned a few problems occurring in the energy sector in the month of January and the Institute believes that the lack of leadership can compound these problems to escalate,” the statement said.

“INSTEPR strongly believes that the Transition Act 845, 2012, should be amended to remove section 13(5) to replace it with the appointment of, at least, five substantive ministers for Finance, Health, Energy, Education and Agriculture. Parliament will make the necessary provisions to vet and approve these ministers designate within the first 21 days of the new parliament. This will afford any new government to have leadership in key areas of our economy,” the statement said.

Below is the full statement

THE ENERGY SECTOR ON AUTOPILOT FOR THE FIRST 100 DAYS OF THE NEW ADMINISTRATION

Ghanaians have high expectation after the swearing in of a new President on the 7th of January, to swiftly oversee all sectors of the economy. We have the first ‘100 days’ expectations and in some countries, there is a believe that the momentum of this ‘100 days’ determines the pace and success of a government.

The energy sector with its numerous problems does not have a Minister and looking at the timetable for vetting by Parliament, we will not have one until the end of February. Even when the President appoints a caretaker as stipulated in the Transition Act 845, 2012, section 13 (5), that individual cannot take policy decisions. The Authorities, corporations and companies under the sector faces the same problem of inaction and no policy direction since their boards were dissolved as per the Chief of Staff’s letter dated 12th January 2021.

This problem is not only felt in the energy sector but across the entire government in Ghana. In the midst of this Covid-19 pandemic, the President does not have a Cabinet and a Health Minister to steer the country through these difficult times.

In the past week, Ghana missed a deadline to take over the operation and maintenance of the Ameri Plant. This was because of delay in undertaking Audit of the plant and an indebtedness to Ameri. There are Union agitation at Tema Oil Refinery since the beginning of the year. The Refinery needs special attention by government to determine the long-term viability of the Company. In recent weeks, most part of the country has experienced low voltage and power outages. There are teething problems at Gridco and ECG which needs immediate attention. We have just mentioned a few problems occurring in the energy sector in the month of January and the Institute believes that the lack of leadership can compound these problems to escalate.

INSTEPR strongly believes that the Transition Act 845, 2012 should be amended to remove section 13 (5) to replace it with the appointment of at least 5 substantive ministers for Finance, Health, Energy, Education and Agriculture. Parliament will make the necessary provisions to vet and approve these ministers designate within the first 21 days of the new parliament. This will afford any new government to have leadership in key areas of our economy.

As it stands, Ghana Incorporated will have nothing to show for in the first quarter of 2021. The private sector looks to government for stability and the uncertainty created by the current situation does not benefit Ghana. Our industry Barometer for first quarter, will now be published in the second quarter, June 2021.

Kwadwo N. Poku
Executive Director

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here