Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Ghana Risks Losing Competitiveness If Energy Crisis Persists-GEA

Mr. Terence Darko 
Mr. Terence Darko
By Evelyn Effia Akese  

THE competitiveness of Ghana as an investment destination for prospective investors can be undermined if long term measures were not taken to curtail the energy crisis in the country, the Ghana Employers Association (GEA), has cautioned.

The GEA said many companies, in their efforts to mitigate production losses on account of lower access to energy, have acquired alternate sources of power generation and this had resulted in higher operational costs, revenue shortfalls and lower profitability.

Speaking at the Association’s 7th Chief Executives’ Breakfast meeting in Accra on Tuesday, Terence Darko, president of the GEA lamented that over the last decade energy had been a great challenge to both industrial and domestic consumers as demand continued to outstrip supply.

He said businesses, especially those within the manufacturing sector, have been severely affected particularly during the load shedding period.
“Businesses are recording lower capacity utilisation levels, higher production costs associated with acquisition and operation of high-cost industrial stand-by generators and loss of jobs,” he said.

Mr. Darko therefore urged the government to show more commitment by “formulating and implementing pragmatic and achievable medium to long-term policies and measures to augment our energy supply needs, in order to forestall any occurrence of energy crises”.

He also called on the government to deepen its engagement with the private sector on energy and go into partnership through mutually beneficial rules, policies and regulations that attract investments to the energy sector.

The Chief Director of the Ministry of Energy, Professor Thomas Mba Akabzaa who represented the Minister of Energy noted that the government was aware of the effect the current load shedding was having on businesses.

He said the load shedding, which was as a result of break of gas supply from the West Africa Gas Pipeline to Ghana, would be a thing of the past by the end of April this year as the gas supply was being restored.

In the long term, he said the government was working with stakeholders in the energy sector to find alternate sources of energy so the crisis does not occur in the future.

Professor Akabzaa said over the past years, Ghana had relied on hydro and thermal power to meet its energy needs and “this means that, the possibility of power crisis in the country is inevitable once our water levels go down or supply of gas from the West Africa Gas Company is cut”.

He said other sources of renewable energies such as solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, hydroelectric among others were being considered and “some are already in place to help curtail these energy problems in the future”.

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