Head of Communication at the Ministry of Energy, Nana Damoah has indicated that the electricity reliefs announced by government to cushion Ghanaians following the COVID-19 economic slowdown will not affect the country’s energy sector debt.
President Nana Akufo-Addo in his sixth national address to the nation on the novel coronavirus on Thursday, April 9, 2020, said that government will fully cover the bills of low-income consumers of electricity and a 50 percent reduction in the cost of same for consumers in other categories in the country for April, May and June 2020.
According to John Peter Amewu, Minister for Energy, government will spend a little over GHS1 billion on the electricity relief package for all Ghanaians as announced by the President.
There have been various concerns on the cost of the relief package on government and the effect it is likely to have on the energy sector’s already ballooning debt.
But speaking on Eyewitness News, the spokesperson for the Energy Ministry indicated that the current arrangement will not affect the Energy Sector debt because government has funds ready to pay electricity suppliers monthly.
“This will not in any way affect the current position of the energy sector in terms of debt because government, led by the President, made a decision to provide some relief to the people of Ghana in this era of COVID-19. What this means is that this cost or this debt we are about to incur has been planned for by government and government will provide those amounts of money from outside the normal operations of the electricity company of Ghana. So government has said these amounts that have been brought before it are going to be paid on a monthly basis. It, therefore, does not affect the revenue of the ECG in any way. The Ministry of Finance has given the highest assurances that the money has been found and is available to be paid at the end of every month to ensure the continuous operation of all of these.”
It is believed that Ghana’s Energy sector debt currently stands at GHS15 billion.
Government to spend GHS1bn on Coronavirus electricity reliefs
The government will spend a little over GHS1 billion over the next three months on relief for electricity consumers amid the economic slowdown from the novel coronavirus pandemic.
About 87 percent of the Ghanaian population on 4.8 million metres who have access to the national grid are in line to benefit from these reliefs, according to the Energy Minister, Peter Amewu.
The government is fully absorbing electricity bills for lifeline consumers; persons who consume 0 to 50 kilowatt-hours per month.
The other categories of consumers will enjoy a 50 percent discount within the same period.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday morning, Mr. Amewu gave a breakdown of the reliefs with the Electricity of Ghana (ECG) accounting for most of the beneficiaries.
ECG currently oversees one million metres for its lifeline customers, which amounts to 27.4 percent of its customers.
“This means that at the current tariff level, Government is absolving almost an amount of GHS 8.5 million per month for [life line customers],” Mr. Amewu noted.