Saturday, 23 December 2017

ECG concessionaire to be announced by end of 2018

Adnan Adams Mohammed

The long awaited announcement of a concessionaire to take over the management of Electricity Company of Ghana is expected by close of next year.

The implementing authority, Millennium Development Authority (MiDA), expects to complete the process and announce the winning bidder before close of 2018 while, the handover of ECG’s distribution business to the winning bidder is scheduled for the first quarter of 2019, MiDA said.

Image result for electricity company of ghana logo
This was disclosed after the final Request for Proposals (RfP) Document that specifies the provisions under which a private sector entity will operate the concession was released.

The RfP Document through a concession arrangement would improve the financial and operational fortunes of ECG which has been issued to the transaction’s Prospective Bidders.

The release of the final RfP Document means that the MiDA can, on behalf of government, receive proposals detailing how the Bidders plan to manage, invest in, and operate the assets of ECG.

The final RfP incorporates government’s position on the structure of the concession; the tenure of the concession, assurance of employment for ECG Staff, and the ownership structure of the new entity which will serve as the special purpose vehicle for the concession arrangement.

Commenting on the RfP, Martin Eson-Benjamin, CEO of MiDA said that the Authority received valuable contributions from stakeholders during the development of the RfP and in the definition of the contents of the last addendum.

He added that Ghanaians can be comforted by the fact that the ECG PSP has been structured to guarantee that the national interest is preserved and that Ghana gets the full benefit of the transaction.

The road towards the procurement of a competent private sector partner for ECG has been long and challenging.

Since the start of the process for the new concessionaire, many stakeholders have shared their comments and reservations about the whole process. While others opposed the deal, others supported the deal.

Dr. Rashid Pelpuo, Member of Parliament for Wa Central and former Minister of State in charge of Public Private Partnership, backed the deal.

According to him, the move will be in the best interest of the company and the country as a whole.

But, workers of ECG are demanding a severance package before the planned concession arrangement for the company commences.

Speaking in an interview, Dr Pelpuo believed lack of sensitisation is one major reason for the delay with the implementation of the agreement.

He said: “There is a lag somewhere, people have not been sensitised enough, educated enough to understand that privatising ECG will be better for Ghanaians and will make Ghanaians better. That sensitisation hasn’t gone far enough so people are going to resist like we are seeing the resistance right now. But all along from the very inception of ECG to date people have seen more failures than success and the question is why are we failing? Is it because of i9nsufficient money to inject into it or because of poor management? Many think it’s because of management and if it’s because of management, let’s inject some private management into it and see how it goes and that is the spirit behind the private sector initiative and management of ECG. I think there is some wisdom in it except that it has been poorly handled.”

In August 2016, MiDA issued an RfP to Prospective Bidders and has collaborated with various government and key MDA’s namely, Ministries of Finance, Energy, Justice and Attorney General’s Department, Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), Energy Commission (EC) and ECG, to engage with the Prospective Bidders at two Bidders Conferences.

These engagements were used to receive comments, clarify, and answer questions from the Bidders on the transaction and enabled MiDA and the relevant stakeholders to fine-tune every aspect of the Bid Document.

The ECG Private Sector Participation Activity under the ECG Financial and Operational Turnaround Project is one of many other activities listed under the Ghana Power Compact Program signed between the Government of Ghana and the Government of the United States of America acting through its Agency, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

The five year US$537 million Power Compact Program, comprising six major projects and designed to improve power supply in Ghana, is expected to encourage and catalyze private investments into Ghana’s power sector.

This will result in the improved availability of reliable power supply, a major requisite for transforming Ghana’s economy.

The Ghana Power Compact being implemented by MiDA is a laudable initiative and Ghanaians are to expected to embrace the positive transformational change that is envisaged in the coming years.