MAHAMA’S MINISTERS ACTED LIKE MERCHANTS OF WAR IN ELECTRICITY CRISIS, SAYS GABBY Featured

By Kwasi Frimpong September 20, 2019 2383 700 comments

Gabby breaks his silence to recall how Ghana has rowed back from the era of NDC cronies benefiting from the “dumsor” crisis

Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, the private legal practitioner and leading member of the New Patriotic Party, has declared that the John Mahama government acted like a group of merchants of war in handling the “dumsor” power provision crisis that plagued Ghana for close to four years.

Speaking on prime-time national TV on Thursday evening in his first television interview since 2015, the NPP stalwart said the NDC government created dumsor and tried to solve it by making a new mess.

Take or pay

The wide-ranging conversation with Paul Adom Otchere of Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana, was keenly anticipated and watched closely, Mr Otchere-Darko scrutinising the record of the Mahama-led government and reflecting on the improved state of the economy.

John Mahama’s government took a series of reckless decisions, he said, signing up for additional supplies of electricity in a splurge of “take or pay” power purchase agreements (PPAs) – under which the client pays for the power generated under agreement by the provider, regardless of whether they can use the power or not.

The dozens of deals struck left Ghana with unsaleable electrical supply in excess of three times the country’s peak demand, Mr Otchere-Darko said.

Forwarding freight

He bemoaned the NDC government’s decision to choose “take or pay” agreements, largely in return for emergency power supplies at prohibitive rates. The cost of the PPA electricity was so high, at roughly 14 cents a unit, that Ghana could not find buyers on the open market among neighbouring countries.

The transactions entered into by Mahama-appointed officials left Ghana tied up in contractual arrangements which have forced the country to continue to pay “$80 million a month for energy we don’t use”, he said.

Mr Otchere-Darko described to the Good Evening Ghana host how Mr Mahama gave away billions of dollars in power contracts, even though he had no idea how to pay for them. In the end, he observed, it is Ghana that ends up paying.

He described the former President jokingly in terms recently adopted by the NDC to criticise President Akufo-Addo. “Apparently John Mahama was the freight forwarder and he forwarded all the freight of the mess for Akufo-Addo to clear as an agent.

“So [if he returns to power] what is he going to say differently?” Gabby asked.

Blessings

Mr Otchere-Darko said President Mahama was blessed to have inherited a relatively healthy economy from the NPP government of John Agyekum Kufuor, with prospects of high growth and oil production just beginning, giving the country a boost.

Indeed, with the first flows of oil money, Ghana became one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, achieving a 14 per cent increase in gross domestic product in 2011 as first revenues from the petroleum industry flowed in.

He could not fathom why, therefore, after inheriting oil money and no debt, the Mahama government had had to turn to the International Monetary Fund for a bailout within two years of inheriting a buoyant economy.

Save our banks

Mr Otchere-Darko also refuted claims that the Akufo-Addo government had collapsed the indigenous banking sector, as members of the opposition NDC have alleged.

The NPP government under Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on the contrary, saved the home-grown banks by marshalling their forces under the umbrellas of the new Consolidated Bank of Ghana (CBG) and GCB Bank (formerly Ghana Commercial Bank). This has made them stronger, Mr Otchere-Darko argued.

Best candidate versus no message

Responding to questions about Mr Mahama’s decision to run again for the presidency in the 2020 election, the legal luminary said the former President remains the best candidate for the NDC now. He however questioned whether he had any message to offer Ghanaians.

Under President Akufo-Addo, Mr Otchere-Darko declared, billions in state arrears ‒ inherited in such areas as Tier Two pensions, the National Health Insurance Scheme, roads, energy, health and education ‒ have been cleared. Ghana is now enjoying a stable economy, secure supplies of power, a revived NHIS, strong agricultural growth and a healthy environment for banking.

If John Mahama is still the only alternative to Nana Akufo-Addo that the NDC can find, he said, “The alternative is still scary.”

 

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Last modified on Tuesday, 24 September 2019 11:53

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