By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor for VibeGhana
Folks, how many of us have not complained about the energy crisis rocking our country, which has assumed so huge a political dimension as to create the unfortunate impression that political opponents of President Mahama are gloating over and gearing up to use against the NDC at Election 2016?
Yes, the energy crisis is disturbing, and the government’s inability to solve it is regrettable; but anybody who narrows it down to conclude that it is a confirmation of the incompetence of the Mahama-led administration will be going too far. No wonder that unrepentant critics of the government such as the NPP-oriented Sydney Casely-Hayford (a so-called financial analyst) are back-pedalling to admit that the “Dumsor… Dumsor” phenomenon is not the making of President Mahama. They will “talk true” under no compulsion.
Now, there is something refreshing to look forward to. The Ghana Gas Company says that it will be able to supply 120 million standard cubic feet gas from Atuabo to the VRA by March this year. Unbfortunately, the VRA is crying that it cannot use all that gas because “some of its plants are down”. Meantime, Nigeria isn’t able to serve Ghana’s needs. Lack of foresight on the part of the VRA management will turn out to be our bane, after all, even though progressive steps are being made to address the energy crisis.
Then, this one too, that is so uplifting as to warrant a citation: “The first phase of power generation using energy from sea waves, has started in Ada, in the Greater Accra region. The project which is being undertaken by TC Energy is expected to contribute 14 megawatts of power to the national grid by next month. The wave-powered project is considered environmentally friendly and will generate power which will cost less compared to Ghana’s current power sources which include hydro and thermal energy.
Speaking to JoyNews, Chief Executive of TC Energy, Anthony Opoku said that the company is “looking at about 14,400 kilowatt hour per day that will come from the six wave converter units that we are going to deploy under the sea”.
This innovative approach toward generating electricity from tidal waves is commendable. It only needs commitment and a proper business sense to work well for Ghana’s good. There are many other areas on Ghana’s wide continental shelf that can be tapped into; and I urge the government to support this initiative to the full.
I am gratified that it is beginning at Ada, a very attractive tourist attraction that has huge economic potential as well. The shrimp industry inaugurated by president Mahama must be on course, I hope. So also is the Songor salt industry that is shrouded in much controversy but can be saved. We are even not talking about many other economic resources that the Ada area abounds in. Let us use this area to solve problems, even as we look forward to exploring possibilities in other parts of the country, especially the littoral areas of the Volta, Central and Western Regions.
With such initiatives, Ghana should be taken out of the woods and living conditions improved for the citizens to realize their money’s worth as they continue to sacrifice their lot for the sustenance of constitutional democracy. Anything short of that will lay the foundation for disaster. And posterity will curse our generation for that matter.
We have insisted all this while that alternative sources of energy should be explored and used for Ghana’s good. We have solar, wind, biogas, etc. resources in abundance that should be tapped into. What the government has to do is to encourage private entrepreneurs to go in the new direction to reduce its own burden.
Then, it must privatize the Electricity Company of Ghana and the VRA so that a healthy competition can be spurred among those who have the expertise to help Ghana tackle her energy crisis. When private entrepreneurs take over, they will know how to do things to keep the government out of the loop and ensure that the citizens get value-for-money.
As the case has been all these years, the government’s central control over this sector has become heavily politicized to such an extent as to damage the country’s interests and to deprive the citizens of the opportunity to enjoy uninterrupted power supply. Without electricity, everything grinds to a halt in this technologically driven world!!
With the emergence of such private initiatives, the alarm bell is ringing loud for the government to hear and act o n. The message is that those who know how to do business should be allowed to invest in ventures and given the elbow-room to function. Tax breaks may be good for this purpose. Other incentives should be provided at all costs.
In our case in Ghana, where everything has been politicized, the government will always look over its shoulders before it makes any move, be it progressive or retrogressive. The country shouldn’t be bogged down this way. That is why it is advisable that the government should yield grounds and do only what it has to do. Plowing the entire field won’t allow it to make any good harvest.
All it has to do is to create the congenial environment and enunciate favourable policies to motivate and support/defend those who have the capability and wherewithal to take on the challenges that it cannot. What could be better than this approach toward solving perennial national problems for the good of the citizens?